Massive Science celebrates love, nature-style

Flowers, chocolate, and light-based mating dances

To celebrate Valentine's Day, the Massive team decided to highlight the many forms of sex and romance in nature. We polled our community of scientists for interesting stories and they did not disappoint. 

First, we were reminded that mosses are masters of spreading their seed just...everywhere. Have you touched a moss? Now your hands are covered in moss sperm

A tree trunk covered in green moss.

Oh yeah.

Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash 

Nudibranchs, a kind of mollusk, go to great lengths to stay ahead of male competitors for reproduction. Specifically, they go the length of a penis. A disposable penis. Nudibranchs use backward-facing spines on their penis to scrape out sperm their mating partners have previously saved in a storage pouch, another thing nudibranchs have. The title of the paper describing this research gets better with every word: A nudibranch removes rival sperm with a disposable spiny penis.

A nudibranch, a little mollusc shaped like a long pancake, colored red on top and white on the bottom.

Can I...have a glass of water?

Bernard Picton via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

One third of female albatrosses are in same-sex relationships (bird-ationships?). However, the scientist who discovered this doesn't use the word "lesbian" to describe them because, well, that's for humans and she's talking about albatrosses, which is fair.

There's no delicate way to say this so let's just say that some monkeys have blue testicles. Why? Because they look great and attractive.

A small monkey with white fur and black skin and electric-blue colored testicles.

Hey what are you doing after

Konrad Mebert via DOI: 10.21692/haps.2017.048 

There are over 400 species of flowering plants that can reproduce without sperm. In one species, males have gone extinct altogether, which sounds nice.

Fireflies do sexy dances to attract a mate. A male will put on a light show and when a female flashes a light in response, the male approaches. But sometimes, the female has...murderous intentions.

And finally, a story that speaks for itself,  

Blind bisexual goose stuck in love triangle with two swans dies aged 40

Happy Valentine's Day.