Here’s a wonderful book from a couple years ago (2003). It combines two of my favorite subjects, evolutionary biology and sex. What makes it especially hilarious is that it’s in the form of questions to a sex advice columnist. I just found the website here.
Here are some of the questions:
“Dear Dr. Tatiana: My name’s Twiggy, and I’m a stick insect. It’s with great embarrassment that I write to you while copulating, but my mate and I have been copulating for ten weeks already. I’m bored out of my skull, yet he shows no sign of flagging. He says it’s because he’s madly in love with me, but I think he’s just plain mad. How can I get him to quit?”
“Dear Dr. Tatiana: I’m a European praying mantis, and I’ve noticed I enjoy sex more if I bite my lovers’ heads off first. It’s because when I decapitate them they go into the most thrilling spasms. Somehow they seem less inhibited, more urgent – it’s fabulous. Do you find this too?”
“Dear Dr. Tatiana: There’s been a frightful accident. I was happily sitting in my usual spot at the bottom of the sea when I felt an itch on my nose. Being a green spoon worm, I don’t have arms and I couldn’t scratch. So I sniffed. And I inhaled my husband. I’ve tried sneezing but he hasn’t reappeared. Is there anything I can do to get him back?”
This last poor dear belongs to a species where the boys are 200,000 times smaller than the girls. Females have a special chamber in their reproductive tracts where the males sit and fertilize passing eggs.
And that’s how this book goes. Each question reveals another in the panoply of methods that life has evolved to reproduce here on earth. Dr. Tatiana, otherwise known as Olivia Judson, lays out the whys and wherefores of these various techniques. And in the process she describes many basics of biology and how these methods evolved. A thoroughly entertaining and informative book.