E. Mur Sherman Hayman


RE:PRODUCTION - Portraits (2012)

A selection of 20 birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and sea creatures – all chosen because their mating habits are so intrinsically fascinating, and, in so many cases, because their behavior highlights our own.

Rather than try to illustrate the behavior itself, each critter is offered as an iconic portrait, which plays off the silhouette genre of drawing, and is elegantly ‘framed’ with a plaque showing Latin name and a bit of explanatory text.

Courtship behavior may encompass symbolic gesture, dance or vocal performance, trickery, or assault. Most males will fight one another for dominance and the right to mate, but it’s usually a ‘gentleman’s duel’, not a fight to the death. Even rattlesnakes will do a ‘combat dance’ rather than use their venom.

Three competing instincts - to flee, to fight, to mate – may be in play. For males, promiscuity pays, especially in species where the female is capable of raising the young on her own. Males are liberal with their sperm, and females are captive to the offspring. For the female, it pays to pick the fittest partner, whether for food, defense, or help raising the young.

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Click here to see the rest of the series