By Donald Joyce Borror; Richard E White
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Additional resources for A field guide to the insects of America north of Mexico
Others are pink with a single white stripe. These fish are all born male, but can change to females when they get bigger. They are usually in groups of four or five – one female, a smaller male and a few juveniles. If the dominant female dies, the male will change sex to become the dominant female, and one of the juveniles will develop into a fully adult male. 32 The pygmy angelfish on the Reef do the opposite. They gather as a group of females dominated by a male. When he dies, one of the females changes sex to become the male in charge of this watery harem.
Sex-mad Although there are no Superfish, there is a small Australian mouse-like creature called an antechinus that could go for the title of Supermarsupial. In the mating season, which lasts about two weeks during spring, the male of the species goes sex-mad. He will spend up to 12 hours at a time continuously mating with a female before going to another – as many as possible during the mating period. He doesn’t eat or sleep, he just has sex. Biologists think the long matings 33 with each female make it more likely that the male’s sperm will be successful.
House-hunting Finding a place to make a nest or bring up the young has led to some very unusual house arrangements in the animal kingdom. Take the black jewel beetle. 44 It’s also known as ‘the firebug’ because this little insect is always looking for a hot spot. When it senses a bushfire it won’t head away from the flames, but towards them. It can detect a fire from several kilometres away. It’s looking for a charred tree in which to lay its eggs. Sometimes the wood is still smoking and much too hot for humans to touch.
A field guide to the insects of America north of Mexico by Donald Joyce Borror; Richard E White