How Same-Sex Partnerships Work in the Animal Kingdom

July 9, 2021 by No Comments

Sexuality in the animal kingdom is fluid, meaning animals are not simply homo or hetero. In some cases, animals chose a same-sex partner over partner of the opposite sex. So how do same-sex partnerships maintain the cycle of procreation in the wild?

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Female Albatross Shack Up

“What happens when there is a shortage of males and a female wants to have a family? In the case of the Laysan albatross, females shack up with each other for years and take turns raising offspring, research now reveals.”

Same-Sex Mothers: Letting Albatrosses Be Albatrosses
“There was a time when the Laysan albatross might seem a perfect icon for the virtues of marriage. When naturalists visited the bird’s nesting grounds in the Pacific, they’d find males and females bonded in pairs for life. Each breeding season the pairs of birds would nuzzle their heads together and perform other adorable courtship rituals.”

Adaptive value of same-sex pairing in Laysan albatross

“Same-sex pairing is widespread among animals but is difficult to explain in an evolutionary context because it does not result in reproduction, and thus same-sex behaviour often is viewed as maladaptive. Here, we compare survival, fecundity and transition probabilities of female Laysan albatross in different pair types, and we show how female–female pairing could be an adaptive alternative mating strategy, albeit one that resulted in lower fitness than male–female pairing.”

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