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Wiggling bird genitals give good vibrations

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    Wiggling bird genitals give good vibrations * 11 June 2008 * From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues. SOME male birds possess a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 12, 2008
      Wiggling bird genitals give good vibrations

          * 11 June 2008
          * From New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

      SOME male birds possess a wiggling tongue-like knob on their genitals, probably to titillate their mates.

      In typical bird copulation, males and females momentarily press together their cloacas - genital openings - in what biologists call a cloacal kiss. A muscled tongue-like projection called a cloacal tip, spotted for the first time in males of several species of Australian wrens, means this might be more like a French kiss.

      Melissah Rowe of the University of Chicago and colleagues studied eight species of wrens. Based on the alignment of the muscles, the cloacal tips seem able to wiggle from side to side. Though Rowe hasn't seen a tip in action, she says it would be odd to find a structure made of muscle that didn't move (Journal of Avian Biology, DOI: 10.1111/j.2008.0908-8857.04305.x).

      The team also found that the tips were proportionally larger in wren species where females mate with many partners, suggesting that its function might be to stimulate females and encourage them to take up and retain the males' sperm, says Rowe.
      From issue 2660 of New Scientist magazine, 11 June 2008, page 16

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