A pair of zebra finches in a cage
Animal Divorce: When and Why Pairs Break Up
Many species of birds and other vertebrates form pair bonds and mate with just one other individual for much of their lives. But the unions don’t always work out. Scientists want to know the underlying factors.
Animal Divorce: When and Why Pairs Break Up
Animal Divorce: When and Why Pairs Break Up

Many species of birds and other vertebrates form pair bonds and mate with just one other individual for much of their lives. But the unions don’t always work out. Scientists want to know the underlying factors.

Many species of birds and other vertebrates form pair bonds and mate with just one other individual for much of their lives. But the unions don’t always work out. Scientists want to know the underlying factors.

sexual behavior
Infographic showing genetic and social monogamy in birds
Infographic: A New Look at Monogamy Across the Animal Kingdom
Catherine Offord | Jun 1, 2022
Advances in genetics in recent years has revealed that many apparently exclusive pairs in fact sometimes mate with individuals other than their partner, but social monogamy is widespread.
Reddish shelf fungi on a log
This Fungus Has More Than 17,000 Sexes
James M. Gaines | Apr 20, 2022
Advances in sequencing technologies have finally allowed researchers to zero in on the genetic diversity underlying the incredible mating system of shelf fungi.
funnel web spider courtship
Image of the Day: Spider Sex
Nicoletta Lanese | Aug 26, 2019
Funnel-web spiders change the timing of their distinct courtship behavior depending on what microbes they’re carrying.
Larger Hermit Crab Penises May Prevent Shell Theft
Abby Olena | Jan 16, 2019
Members of species with shells they must hold onto for survival have larger sexual tubes than those with less precious private property.
Do Human Pheromones Exist?
Diana Kwon | Jan 23, 2018
Despite the prevalence of pheromone products on the market, substantial evidence that they can induce sexual attraction is lacking.
Fast-Tracking Sexual Maturation
Ruth Williams | Nov 1, 2017
The brains and bodies of young female rats can be accelerated into puberty by the presence of an older male or by stimulation of the genitals.
Sexual Touch Promotes Early Puberty
Ruth Williams | Sep 21, 2017
The brains and bodies of young female rats can be accelerated into puberty by the presence of an older male or by stimulation of the genitals.
Image of the Day: Monkey Business
The Scientist Staff | Jan 10, 2017
For the first time, researchers have documented interspecies sexual behavior between a male Japanese macaque and a female sika deer.
Hot Off the Presses
Bob Grant | Aug 1, 2016
Idiot Brain, Wild Sex, Why Diets Make Us Fat, and The Ethics of Invention
Guppie Porn
The Scientist Staff | Jul 31, 2016
Biologist Carin Bondar delivers a TED talk about the wilder side of sex.
HIV in the Internet Age
Jef Akst | May 1, 2015
Social networking sites may facilitate the spread of sexually transmitted disease, but these sites also serve as effective education and prevention tools.
Capsule Reviews
Bob Grant | Jul 1, 2014
Sex on Earth, Wild Connection, The Classification of Sex, and XL Love
Spineless Sex
The Scientist Staff | Jul 1, 2014
Not to be outdone by vertebrates, invertebrates employ a suite of interesting structures and behaviors to accomplish procreation.
Speaking of Sex
The Scientist Staff | Jul 1, 2014
July 2014's selection of notable quotes
Sex and Drugs
Kerry Grens | Jul 1, 2014
Did 20th-century pharmaceutical and technological advances shape modern sexual behaviors?
The Love Bug
Jef Akst | Jul 1, 2014
A mysterious iridovirus outbreak in a lab colony of crickets reveals the virus’s ability to spur increased sexual activity.
Accidental Orgasms
Rina Shaikh-Lesko | Jul 1, 2014
Meet the researcher struggling to gain approval for his medical device, which was originally designed to relieve back pain, but turned out to be an orgasm inducer.
A Rock and a Hard Place
Bob Grant | Jul 1, 2014
Meet the retired chemical engineer who has made quite the impression on paleoentomology by uncovering ancient secrets of insect coitus.
Sari van Anders: Sexy Thoughts, Sexy Data
Daniel Cossins | Jul 1, 2014
Assistant professor, Psychology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan. Age: 36