<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

There is still a great deal of controversy over these theories and more research is needed to establish one way or another which theory or theories best explains the co-evolution of mallard sexual organs. One way or another, sexual conflict is at the heart of why drakes have complex intromittent organs, and why females have developed elaborate defensive vaginas. Females invest far more in the offspring than the males do, and this trait preserves their ability to select for better mates. Better mates increase her own chances of survival directly, but more importantly, they give her offspring higher fitness. This ensures that her own genes will be more likely to spread throughout the population, even if she still had to do most of the work on her own.

Sexual deviance in mallards

Did you know that mallards are one of the few species that have been observed practicing homosexuality and one of even fewer that have been noted to practice homosexual necrophilia?

In 2001, a researcher sitting at his desk at the Natuurmuseum of Rotterdam heard a loud bang and looked outside his window to find two mallard drakes; one was in full breeding plumage while the other in post-breeding moult. It was found that the breeding male was chasing the other drake in an attempted rape flight before the latter smashed into the building’s wall instantly dying, but still not losing his undesired partner’s interest (Moeliker).

What followed for the next 75 minutes was an unprecedented torrent of passion captured on camera by the researcher who eventually ended the scene by removing the mallard corpse. C.W. Moeliker would go on to publish his findings and earn one of the ten 2003 Ig Noble Prizes (Moeliker 2001).

Free love in Anatidae

Homosexual behavior in animals has been documented but not well studied. Ducks in particular have often been observed practicing male homosexuality. Mallards in particular have been noted to have up to 19% of pairs be homosexual (Bagemihl 1999).

It’s up to brilliant future researches like yourself to uncover the mysteries behind this act which seems to have no apparent fitness benefit, and in fact doomed one species to extinction. The blue duck species pictured below is now going extincti as the last three individuals, a female and two males, have chosen sterile relationship paths. The males have bonded while the female remains solitary. Future studies of this duck species will be impossible, so comparative methods with other duck species will have to be used to understand this bizarrre phenomenon.

A blue duck

Discussion questions:

  1. Which gender do you think first began to evolve the complexity leading to sexual conflict?
  2. What is the social monogamy in mallards like?
  3. Why don’t males in other species practice forced copulation?
  4. Why would matching male and female genital complexity exist in certain species and how does this apply to mallards?
  5. Why might the hen’s unconditional resistance be selected for and how might this affect selection on the drake’s phalluses?
  6. Ethics bonus question: Can mallard drakes be held morally responsible for forced copulation?

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11211/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior' conversation and receive update notifications?