I love nature. I really, really do. You think biscuit-obsessed rapist cowboy heroes are fucked up? That ain’t nothing compared to what evolution cooks up, baby.
Take, for instance, this article about duck penises recently published in the New York Times.
Those of you who’ve raised ducks will know this already: male ducks are, well, dicks. Big dicks. But more than that, they HAVE big dicks. Big, corkscrewy dicks.
The champion phallus from this Meller’s duck is a long, spiraling tentacle. Some ducks grow phalluses as long as their entire body. In the fall, the genitalia will disappear, only to reappear next spring.
REGENERATIVE big, corkscrewy tentacle dicks. Mmmm mmmmm.
Why the presence of penises, though, especially given that most other bird species use their cloacas to reproduce? Answer: because ducks are quite the accomplished rapists.
In some species of ducks, a female bonds for a season with a male. But she is also harassed by other males that force her to mate. “It’s nasty business. Females are often killed or injured,â€ Dr. Brennan said.
Species with more forced mating tend to have longer phalluses. That link led some scientists to argue that the duck phallus was the result of males’ competing with one another to fertilize eggs.
But there’s more! (“Call now, and receive this beautifully hand-finished work of duckrape…”) Scientists are now hypothesizing that the male ducks are evolving these crazy penises in response to the females evolving incredibly complicate—labyrinthine, even—oviducts. In fact, based on the incredibly high duckrape rate (about 30%) vs. the number of offspring sired by the forced matings (3%), there’s some speculation that the female ducks are able to sequester the semen in a pocket and shoot it back out later.
This is fascinating science and a worthy contribution to evolutionary science and avian physiology, but the implications are clear, as Lilith Saintcrow pointed out to me on Friday night: we need more were-ducks in our romance novels. Somebody notify Lora Leigh, stat!
And speaking of huge corkscrew penises, here’s a possibility for you paranormal m/m romance authors who have a fondness for were-beasts: many slugs have them, too. Slugs are hermaphroditic, and their mating habits can be…exotic. Spotted leopard slugs, for example, suspend themselves from thick ropes of mucus, entwine their bodies, extrude their gigantic blue cocks, wrap them around each other and exchange genetic material. For some amazing pictures, check out this website.
BUT THERE’S MORE! Sometimes, the penises become so hopelessly entangled that the only way for the slugs to disengage…is to chew away the cocks. This, kids, is known as apophallation, and banana slugs sometimes do this.
Extreme BDSM m/m paranormal were-slug romance: This is clearly an untapped market. When the sub-genre becomes huge in three years, just remember where you read about the idea in the first place.