Valentine’s Day is not just for humans any longer
What are you doing on Valentine’s Day? We bet you can’t beat the mosquito.
There’s a lot of fancy wooing in the animal kingdom. Fireflies flash their lights in secret codes, cicadas serenade in a choir, male balloon flies offer gifts to their lady love, wrapping prey in lovely little silken bubbles. Back to the mosquito, it produces sound at varied frequencies at different stages of courtship. In many species, courting males and females modulate flight tones to converge toward a common frequency. Talk about being compatible!
Gift-giving,meanwhile,occurs among “snails, squid, crickets, ladybirds, bedbugs, butterflies, fireflies, and humans, as males attempt to improve chances of mating,” says Geetha Bali, president of Ethological Society of India. Some cheeky male balloon flies present empty gifts to trick females into mating. Birds are the most over-the-top valentines. They swoop, prance, decorate their nests. The Sarus Crane stands out. They prance, leap and toss grass about in a lovesick display. Certain species of whale have been known to ‘date’ or escort non-receptive females for weeks before mating season. Male humpbacks ‘sing’ too — but one study suggests they only do this when there are few or no males around. Bashful, perhaps?