How to Protect your Eggs from Kleptogamists
February 13, 2012 21 Comments
Some of you may be wondering what is up with Sneaky Fucker Week. The rest of you are most likely running away offended in the opposite direction. That is just as well. Things are not going to improve much going forward.
The Back Story behind the very sciency Sneaky Fucker Week:
Here is the premise, a posting by Andres Heinakroon to Amy’s Cat Urine Brain Cyst Blog:
‘Feline fatal attraction’ is a good one but it’s not the best. My favourite scientific term is the ‘Sneaky fucker strategy’, aka kleptogamy. It probably is rather self-explanatory but here goes: In species where males aim to gather a harem of females to mate with, there are two male strategies for successful mating.
The first one is to be as big and strong as possible in order to fight off the competition and win access to the females. This is however both costly and risky. You might spend more energy than you can replace, or you might get seriously injured.
The second strategy is to be a Sneaky fucker. This consists of avoiding any direct conflicts with the alpha males, and keep to the periphery of the harem of females. Then, when the leading male is busy fighting off any competing males, the Sneaky fucker male can sneak in and – well – fuck. And as long as he’s out of the way by the time the alpha male is back, he doesn’t risk getting into a fight.
It’s a brilliant strategy, and this is probably why it’s a very common strategy. So beware of the Sneaky fuckers.
At this fateful moment, Ken, who knew EXACTLY what kind of chaos would ensue, tossed out THIS little remark:
This sneaky fucker business is seriously good enough to merit its own blogpost. Actually, I’d like to see each of you do something with this. Maybe we should declare sneaky fucker week and all write blogposts and make a festival of it.
I’ve always lived my life with the notion that if all the cool kids are doing it, there must be something worthwhile about the venture. So, when Andreas (@heinakroon), Ken (@lahikmajoe), and Amy (@lucysfootball ) started talking about Sneaky Fucker Week (#sneakyfuckerweek) on Twitter, I jumped on that bandwagon with no hesitation. However, now that I am on the band wagon, I am hesitating a bit.
Andreas (Heinakroon.com) published a very nice post focused mainly on moose erotica. I just call it moose porn because I like to trivialize great works of science. He is going to win the Nobel Prize, I bet, for his research. I hope he does, because then I will NEVER leave him alone about his moose porn prize.
Amy (Lucy’s Football) has already composed quite the riveting post on frat boys, mating frogs, and Justin Bieber’s red, moist lips.
Lisa, over at Random Thoughts of a Plum, with a “tendency to write blogs that are of a certain level innocence wise,” is a little concerned about venturing outside her comfort zone: “I have thought how I could possibly contribute to this sacred week when I can’t even bring myself to say the name of it in case Disney smacks me round the face for disgracing his hypothetical website.”
I fully agree. My blog is usually very tame and non-controversial. However, I am willing to venture forward in name of science. So, brace for impact….
Since Andreas apparently has all the moose porn covered, and Amy has covered frogs and Justin Bieber, I have decided to go with sneaky fish. And they are out there, don’t be fooled. I found this great research paper about the sex lives of fish. You can go read it here:
The sex lives of fishes by Stéphan G. Reebs
If you are short on time, or do not want to read it, I will summarize it for you. Just know that you are NOT in good hands.
Point 1. Sexiness is primary. Or primal. Either way
“Those individuals that did not care about reproduction died without transmitting their genes to the next generation, and their contempt for the reproductive enterprise died with them. In contrast, those individuals that had an innate taste for mating propagated that trait through the population.” Which explains all the porn on the Internet. Thanks, Stéphan, you have made it all so clear.
Point 2. Some fish are sexier than others. They can’t all be Brad Pitt, you know.
“Evolutionarily speaking, stakes are very high in the reproductive game. There is pressure on all individuals to leave as many viable descendants as possible in the next generation. One way of doing this is to choose a sexual partner of high quality.” Lisa (Random Thoughts of a Plum) describes this method as “luring the female of their species into bed with weight lifting and muscle flexing and eyebrow wiggling.”
“But for those individuals who score low in the mate choice game, there are other ways to pass on their genes, less flashy ways, tactics that are less straightforward, some might say less fair-play, but reasonably efficient nonetheless. Amy (Lucy’s Football) describes this as “the one who’s hanging out, willing to be your best friend, but always eyeing you a little too avidly” of fish.
This is where Stéphan introduces us to the “dirty little secrets of a fish’s sex life.” (I’ll bet you NEVER thought you would hear about dirty little sex life secrets of fish today.) “In almost all fishes, fertilisation is external. The male’s sperm and the female’s eggs are released from the body and they must meet in open water for fertilisation to occur. While they float in water, a female’s eggs are vulnerable to interception by the sperm of a male who may not be her chosen mate.”
Point 3. Sneaky fuckers have big balls. No, I mean LITERALLY.
“Sneakers make a special investment in their unconventional way of life. They develop huge gonads.”This is where I started cracking up, thinking about the sneaky fish with huge gonads. Feel free to take a break here and have a good laugh. We can wait.
Okay, stop laughing, there is some SERIOUS sciency stuff coming up here. Stéphan says, “The testes of sneakers can be up to seven times the size of the norm for the species. This is because sneakers practice sperm competition … the more sperm they release, the greater their chance of grabbing a good share of fertilisations. So, to produce more sperm, sneaker males invest into the development of big testes.” Grab it while you can little fishy with the big balls, grab it while you can.
Come to think of it, fish aren’t the only ones experiencing sperm competition. I read something once about how a gorilla has smaller penis in proportion to his body size because he essentially dominates a harem and has all the females to himself. Chimpanzees, on the other hand, have larger penises in proportion to their bodies due to increased mating competition. So, if the sneaky fish have larger gonads, logically, the sneaking moose would have larger equipment as well. I will now test this hypothesis by searching for moose penis size on Google. Wait here….
…. okay, as you may have accurately predicted, googling ‘moose penis’ was very bad idea. Due to my lack of primary resources, I will have to write the rest of this post based on what I already know about gonads. Now who around here would be investing in big testes? One group comes readily to mind.
How to Spot a Sneaky Fucker:
You may have read my post, “How to Improve your Karma,” in which I discuss the propensity of Texans to drive around in trucks hung with artificial ball sacs. You know… as if the truck has suddenly grown a pair of giant testicles. Since these guys, with their huge truck ball sacs, are the obviously the ones with increased capacity for mating competition, it follows that they are the sneaky fuckers. If you see a guy with balls attached to his truck, your eggs very well may be vulnerable to interception. So, watch yourself.
As a public service, I have included this t-shirt you can wear as a message to all the sneaky fuckers out there:
If you have a blog post for Sneaky Fucker Week, please alert me so I can include your link below. We need to make sure everyone is as informed on this situation as much as possible.
For Further Research:
The sex lives of fishes, Stéphan G. Reebs
Lucy’s Football: I’m a lover, not a fighter, and I’m really built for speed
Random Thoughts of a Plum: A project that I kind of accidentally fell into… an introduction to what will come and… Benjie: The story of a very sneaky little rascal.
Heinakroon.com: The art of kleptogamy
lahikmajoe: Duckie the quintessential sneaky fucker