How much do you know about the birds and the bees?

Peacock display
Photo: Jebulon/Wiki Commons

As Cole Porter famously sang: "And that's why birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let's do it, let's fall in love." How much do you really know about the love lives of animals?

Question 1 of 14

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A pair of phalaropes
Photo left: Shawn McCready/flickr, Photo right: Jason Crotty/flickr
Can you tell which of these phalaropes is male and which is female?

Unlike most bird species, the female phalarope is more brightly colored. Conventional sex roles are reversed among these birds: Females compete for the attention of males, and males incubate the eggs.

Question 2 of 14

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Photo: Tambako the Jaguar/flickr
Which animal has the largest penis?

The blue whale is the heaviest animal to have ever existed on Earth, and it has the penis size to match. Male appendages can reach 10 feet in length.

Question 3 of 14

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Clutch of eggs
Photo: oddharmonic/flickr
Which of these mammals is known for laying eggs rather than giving live birth?

Platypuses and echidnas are the only mammals alive today that are classified as monotremes, or mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.

Question 4 of 14

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Photo: kait jarbeau/flickr
Which of the great apes is the only species besides humans known to regularly engage in face-to-face intercourse?

Bonobos exemplify the motto "Make Love, Not War." Aside from regularly engaging in face-to-face sexual intercourse, a rare behavior in nature, they also use sex as a way to resolve conflicts and cement social relationships. In other words, sex is as much for recreation as it is for procreation among these unique apes.

Question 5 of 14

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What kinky sexual behavior best describes the sex life of porcupines?

To get the attention of a female porcupine, a male will typically spray urine at her, often at high velocity and from a distance. If she's impressed with the "golden shower" she receives, she will roll over and expose her quill-less underbelly. If she's not impressed, however, she'll shake it off and keep her quills up.

Question 6 of 14

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Orgy statue
Photo: Marcus Hansson/flickr
Which of these animals is known for gathering in large 'orgy balls,' often with just one female in the center?

Male garter snakes competing for a mate are known to occasionally swarm females and form what are called "mating balls" around her. The lucky male that gets to mate is the one that best navigates this slithering tangle of snakes.

Question 7 of 14

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Penguin pair
Photo: Buzz60/YouTube
What are the sexes of this happy penguin pair?

The two chinstrap penguins depicted here are named Roy and Silo. Both are male, and they represent one of several well-documented cases of homosexual pairings in birds. The jovial pair even adopted a chick and raised it together, proving to be just as successful as parents as heterosexual pairs.

Question 8 of 14

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Wonder Woman
Photo: Wiki Commons
In some species of this animal, no males exist. Which is it?

Some species of whiptail lizard have learned to get by without any males. They produce offspring via a process called parthenogenesis, which essentially means that females produce clones of themselves. Scientists are baffled how these lizards can evolve without any sexual reproduction.

Question 9 of 14

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Elaborate nest
Photo: James Sinclair/flickr
The males of which species are known to build elaborate structures and decorate them with colorful trinkets — all in an effort to impress picky females.

Bowerbirds are renowned for their ability to build highly ornamented nests, or bowers, for the sake of courtship. These bowers have been known to be decorated with anything from flowers and bottle caps to sea shells and colorful plastics.

Question 10 of 14

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Fountain of Trevi
Photo: Pablo Gulin Diaz Kopec/flickr
For which of these creatures can mating last for 56 hours?

Aptly named lovebugs can spend as long as 56 hours making sweet love, which is roughly their entire adult lifespan.

Question 11 of 14

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Photo: goodsophism/flickr
Which of these animals is known to form monogamous relationships?

These adorable apes form monogamous pair bonds, a rare trait among primates. Mated pairs will even sing long, complex songs together.

Question 12 of 14

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Fish with male parasites
Photo: seesternli/flickr
In this fish, males live only as small parasites attached to the side of a female. What is it?

Males are so highly reduced in anglerfish that they are incapable of surviving on their own. Instead, they must attach themselves to a female and merge with her circulatory system. She provides sustenance, and he provides sperm.

Question 13 of 14

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Red gular pouch
Photo: Andrew Turner/Wiki Commons
Males of this bird species have bright red gular pouches that they can inflate like a balloon to attract females. Can you identify it?

These magnificent seabirds are frigatebirds. When they inflate their throat pouches, they also vibrate their wings and produce a drumming sound by clapping their bills.

Question 14 of 14

Score: 0

Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wiki Commons
Which of these hermaphroditic animals engages in so-called 'penis fencing' to determine who gets to be male or female?

Using their penises as swords, two flatworms will attempt to stab and inseminate one another. The loser ends up becoming the mother, while the winner gets to be an absent father.

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