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 selection
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.
Readout of acoustic camera indicating individual male frogs and the frequency of their mating call
Science Snapshot: Identifying Individual Frogs In A Chorus
Lisa Winter | Apr 29, 2022
Using an acoustic camera, researchers were able to locate individual male wood frogs by their mating calls and determine which songs the females liked best.
A headshot of Matthew Gage
Evolutionary Ecologist Matthew Gage Dies at 55
Amanda Heidt | Apr 20, 2022
The University of East Anglia researcher was best known for his contributions to the study of sexual selection, particularly post-copulatory sperm competition.
Image of the Day: Plumage Patterns
Amy Schleunes | Mar 23, 2020
An island songbird evolved into five populations of different color variants despite inhabiting territories just 10 kilometers apart.
chimpanzee testes
Why Chimpanzees Have Big Testes, and Mandrills Have Small Ones
Katarina Zimmer | Apr 16, 2019
For primates, males’ fancier ornaments are linked with smaller testes, according to a new comparative study.
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.
Image of the Day: Beetle Fight
Jef Akst | Dec 3, 2018
The exaggerated horns and elongated forelegs of male flower beetles, which use these appendages as weapons in combat for females, do not slow down the insects in a race.
Image of the Day: Size Matters
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Feb 23, 2018
The male proboscis monkey’s large nose probably evolved in response to female preference and competition between males.
Image of the Day: Glowing Chameleon
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Jan 23, 2018
The lizards may be signaling one another using fluorescent cues that we can’t see.
The Genetic Strategies of Dealing with High Altitude
Abby Olena | Nov 2, 2017
Andean highlander genomes possess cardiovascular-related variants, while populations from other regions evolved different solutions to manage the lack of oxygen.
Female Fish Select Mates’ Sperm
Ben Andrew Henry | Aug 17, 2016
A protective coating on ocellated wrasse eggs helps female fish select sperm from nest-building males.
Scientists Solve Giant Sperm Paradox
Tanya Lewis | May 26, 2016
A study reveals why some male fruit flies produce sex cells that are 20 times the length of their bodies.
Lizard Swaps Mode of Deciding Its Sex
Kerry Grens | Jul 1, 2015
Sex assignment in bearded dragons can flip from one based on chromosomes to one driven by temperature, researchers report.
From the Feature Well
Jef Akst | Dec 29, 2014
A review of The Scientist’s 2014 special issues, highlighting trending areas of research across the life sciences
Connecting the Dots
Anna Azvolinsky | Aug 1, 2014
Extending her initial studies of social wasps, Mary Jane West-Eberhard has spent her career probing the evolutionary relationship between social behavior and developmental flexibility.
Carnal Knowledge
Bob Grant | Jul 1, 2014
Sex is an inherently fascinating aspect of life. As researchers learn more and more about it, surprises regularly emerge.
Contributors
Rina Shaikh-Lesko | Jul 1, 2014
Meet some of the people featured in the July 2014 issue of The Scientist
The Hidden Side of Sex
Patricia L.R. Brennan | Jul 1, 2014
Sexual selection doesn’t end when females choose a mate. Females and males of many animal species employ an array of tactics to stack the deck in their reproductive favor.
Doodoo Rendezvous
Bob Grant | Jun 30, 2014
Watch flightless dung beetles (Circellium bacchus), sneaky copulators and crap connoisseurs, do their thing in South Africa.