A teenager in Ukraine has unexpectedly helped scientists in Victoria, B.C., make a rare discovery.
Earlier this month, Kirill Dudko, 14, was watching a live stream of cameras on the ocean floor when he saw something unusual — a female elephant seal eating a hagfish.
Researcher Kim Juniper says an email from the teen in Donetsk, Ukraine, caused a flurry of excitement.
“Monday morning we had an email from him saying, ‘I saw something strange and weird. Some monster just ate a fish in front of me. What was it?’ And that sent all of us into a bit of a flurry to back this up."
Juniper says it's the first time a seal has ever been recorded eating a hagfish, a creature so slimy other predators spit them out.
Dudko doesn't speak much English, and he was up past his bed time on a school night to explain the story with help from his mother Svetlana.
"I'm very proud of my son,” she told CBC News.
The researchers at Neptune Canada — a research project that links an 800-kilometre network of instruments on the ocean floor off Vancouver Island directly to the internet — are also proud of Dudko and are grateful for the boost he's given to citizen science.
“Really this is going to be a life-changing experience for this young man, who only in the last few months has developed this interest in marine biology and now he's off and running,” Juniper said.
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The antechinus, a mouse-like marsupial, is polygamous. Each antechinus female will mate with several males in a breeding season, with the result that a single antechinus litter has several fathers. The antechinus mating ritual is long and exhausting with copulation lasting up to twelve hours. In fact, following the breeding season, there is complete die-off of the physiologically exhausted males of the group.
Dolphins are known for their playful nature and happy dispositions. It's no wonder they're so cheerful; they mate several times a day. Although the reproductive act is short, dolphins also engage in a variety of sexual behaviors simply for pleasure. Dolphins have hetero and homosexual partners and will sometimes behave sexually towards other whale and dolphin sub-species, resulting in fertile hybrids like the Wolphin. Occasionally, dolphins behave sexually towards other animals, including human beings.
Queen Honey Bee
The queen bee in a honey bee hive is encouraged to be as promiscuous as possible. During a single mating flight, a queen bee can mate with up to forty drones. The more sexual partners a queen has, the more attractive she is to the worker bees that keep her hive running.
Don't let those innocent faces fool you, rabbits are notorious for their vigorous and indiscriminate breeding. Female rabbits often breed with several males during one mating season. A rabbit's gestation period is only 30 days, so they may breed several times in one year, copulating with different partners each time.
Northern Elephant Seal
Male elephant seals are extremely aggressive towards one another, fighting to become "beach masters." A beach master protects a harem of 30-100 female elephant seals and, in turn, mates with as many of the females as possible. A successful male can impregnate up to 50 females in single mating season and sire over 500 pups in a lifetime.
Eastern Garter Snake
Unlike most snakes, the female Eastern Garter Snake does not lay eggs, but rather gives birth to live young. Breeding is competitive. Sometimes, if several males find a female at the same time, the entire company forms a "breeding ball," the snake equivalent of an orgy. The snakes wrap around one another in an attempt to mate.
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