Steve Kurtz sends me a fascinating article by Alexandru Micu, “The red light forest — Prostitution in the animal world” about what can only be described as prostitution in the animal world — or at least in three species that have been separately researched on the matter. I’ve precised the article below:
Chimps are a highly promiscuous species, but the females only in their fertile period. Not being as physically strong as the males, the females rely a great deal for extra protein on their preferred partner or, indeed, on any of the males in their group’s joint hunts. If the hunt is successful the males will share out surplus food to others, preferably females, even more so to females who closely atttach themselves closely to specifically to each male during the hunt. In return, the more successful higher-ranking males tend to have more sex — that is, are offered more sex — with the femaleswho had been more selective beforehand.
These penguins generally pair for life and they will both prepare a nest consisting of building up a circular wall of pebbles into which an egg will be laid. If pebbles are relatively scarce then there’ll be plenty of ferocious quarrels and stealing from neighbouring nests, including those of bachelor males. Some females walking out of sight of their partners will often visit a bachelor nest, offer sex and then quickly take a pebble from his nest and return to her own nest. If she’s discrete about this she may do this.
In this species males and females each establish feeding territories of their own. The males, being larger and stronger than the females can easily establish larger territories which guarantees them at least enough nectar on which to survive even in periods of drought. In such periods females will fly to a male’s territory, offer sex and be allowed to feed for a while — though not too long before the males will chase her away. In this way, the species has managed to survive even during periods when food was scarce.