So I was about to do a post on preying mantises, specifically about the myth about female preying mantises having sex with their mates and then biting their heads off. Since Leland Howard “discovered” this fact in 1886, this myth has lent a hand to a wealth of femme fatale stereotypes, including the penis-envy or man-hating feminist. Lisa Wade from Sociological Images further explains this myth and the ensuing unfair characterizations of women as villains here.
One commenter on Wade’s post included a link to Seduce Me with Isabella Rosselini – a series of online sorts about the sexual habits of animals, often using costumes and cardboard cutouts. YES.
My sister is the queen of finding awkward things online, and she really should’ve beat me to this.
Here’s a clip from the episode on snails:
Here’s an equally awkward excerpt from her interview with Eric Spitznagel at Vanity Fair:
Thanksgiving is next week, so we should probably talk about turkeys. What can you tell us about turkey sex?
I don’t know much about turkeys. Birds are not so interesting generally. In terms of sexual organs, birds have a cloaca, which is an opening where everything happens, from feces and urine and also sperm. I imagine turkeys also have a cloaca, but I’m not absolutely sure. I think maybe it would be interesting to know about their method of courtship. I’m sure it would be very colorful and very strange.
I’ve heard that a lot of turkeys have virgin births.
Really? No, that cannot be right.
I swear that’s what I read. It’s called parthenogenesis, and the percentage of virgin turkey births is something like 40 percent.
I don’t think so, I don’t think so. Birds are not like aphids, where an animal can reproduce by cloning itself. You can segment the worm and the worm can become two worms. Or you can segment a starfish. But I’ve never heard of that happening in a higher animal such as birds.
If it’s true…
No, no, I don’t think it is.
But let’s assume for a moment that it is. If we eat turkey for Thanksgiving, is it possible that we could be eating the Son of God?
[Laughs. Long pause.] I don’t really want to go there, I’m sorry.
I’ve also heard that many of the turkeys sold at grocery stores are physically incapable of having sex. They’re genetically bred to be so fat that they have to be artificially inseminated.
And believe me, it gets better (really, more like worse). Read on!