Opinion

Five Animals That Mate To Death

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Pacific Salmon. Photo Courtesy

These five animals die after mating

Pacific Salmon

Pacific Salmon. Photo Courtesy

Each year mature salmon make the long journey back to their natal river to reproduce, just once. For the five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook, chum, coho, pink, and sockeye), this arduous journey is a race against the clock that ends in a fleeting romance and ultimately death.

Salmon is one of the extreme cases where they put everything into reproducing just once, and then getting old and dying almost immediately thereafter.

One Twisted Parasite

One Twisted Parasite. Photo Courtesy

A female parasite of the Caenocholax-Strepsiptera genus is burrowed in a cricket. She’ll mate, give birth, and then die here. For instance, in twisted-wing parasites of the order Strepsiptera, females produce between 1,000 and 750,000 larvae in their one and only mating session.

Sacrificial Spider

Sacrificial Spider. Photo Courtesy

Female spiders often get a bad rap as femme Fatales that eat their mates, but mother Stegodyphus lineatus spiders die for their young.

After her first batch of eggs hatch, “mothers first regurgitate food for newly emerged spiderlings and then let the spiderlings eat her,” says a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in Scarborough.

Other male spiders sacrifice their bodies—literally—to make sure they’re the father.

Deep-Sea Octopus

Deep-Sea Octopus. Photo Courtesy

After the death of the male octopus, the female is left to look after the eggs.

Drone Bees

Drone Bee. Photo Courtesy

Drone bees have their mating season. These drone bees will mate with the queen bee and they die immediately. The next male honey bee to mate with the queen will remove the previous endophallus and eventually lose his own after ejaculation. Male honey bees are only able to mate seven to 10 times during a mating flight, and after mating, a drone dies quickly, as his abdomen rips open when his endophallus is removed.

Felicity Gitonga

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