Wild Valentines: Many Animals Mate for Life
Humans like to think of themselves as unique when it comes to taking vows of togetherness. But a surprising number of other species in the animal kingdom provide sterling examples of fidelity, monogamy and lifelong pairing.
Gibbons, of the ape family, are the nearest relatives to humans that mate for life. They form extremely strong pairings and both sexes are on relatively equal footing in their relationships.
Bald eagles, our national emblem, typically mate for life, except in the event of a partner’s inability to procreate.
Wolves, often portrayed as tricksters in folklore, conduct a family life more loyal than many human relationships. Wolf packs typically comprise a male, a female and their offspring, making them akin to a human nuclear family.
Swans form monogamous pair bonds that last for many years or even for life. Their loyalty is so storied that the image of two swans swimming with their necks entwined in the shape of a heart has become a universal symbol of true love.
French angelfish are seldom found far from their mate, because they live, travel and even hunt in pairs. The fish form monogamous relationships that often last as long as both individuals are alive. In fact, they act as a team to vigorously defend their territory against neighboring pairs.
Other examples include albatrosses, African antelopes, black vultures, Malagasy giant rats, prairie voles, sandhill cranes, termites and, of course, turtle doves.
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