Mating = (Literal) Conjoining / Parasitism

EnolaGaia

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I'm starting this thread because I can't locate any prior mention of animal mating that results in ongoing literal:

- physical conjoining and / or ...
- persistent / permanent parasitism

Please - refrain from the obvious jokes about such relations in the metaphorical sense.

This is occasioned by a recent story about such conjoined mating (below) - something I don't recall ever encountering before.

Are there other examples of animals for whom mating results in persistent / permanent linkage?
 

EnolaGaia

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This Scary-Looking Fish Has a Parasitic 'Husband' Attached to Her for Life
In the deep North Atlantic, a small but ghastly-looking female anglerfish floats in the inky-black waters, eerily lit by her wispy, glowing fishing lure and the specks of light illuminating her long fin rays.

Her ghostly glow reveals she isn't alone. Attached to her underside, her tiny "husband" — a parasitic mate that had fused himself to her belly — wafts in the water.

German researchers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen filmed this extraordinary scene with the Lula 1000, a deep-sea submersible diving off the coast of São Jorge Island in the Azores, about 850 miles (1,360 kilometers) west of Portugal. ...

Until now, researchers had never seen this species of anglerfish (Caulophryne jordani) alive. But the 25-minute-long video, taken at about 2,600 feet (800 meters) underwater, changes that. ...

There are about 160 known anglerfish species that live in all of the world's oceans, but sightings of them are extremely rare. For instance, there are just 14 C. jordani preserved in jars of alcohol around the world, and the male C. jordani has never been seen by human eyes. ...

Female and male anglerfish are extremely different: Female anglerfish can grow to be about 60 times larger and half-a-million times heavier than the males. Instead of sporting a luminescent lure, the males have large eyes and huge nostrils, which help them sniff out species-specific scents the females emit. ...

When a male spots a female, he bites onto her body, allowing their tissues and circulatory systems to fuse. The pair then creates a symbiotic relationship: He gives her sperm, and she gives him an all-you-can eat buffet of nutrients for the rest of their lives.
Here's a photo. The small tassel-like item hanging off the female fish's belly is the male / mate.

Anglerfish-A.jpg

SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/62102-anglerfish-parasitic-male-video.html
 

Yithian

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Interesting topic, but the thread title looks like a mathematical function!
 

EnolaGaia

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Interesting topic, but the thread title looks like a mathematical function!
Yeah, I know ... I was struggling to phrase a concise description of the intended theme ...
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's some more background on the anglerfish oddness ...

... During the 19th century, when scientists began to discover, describe, and classify anglerfish from a particular branch of the anglerfish family tree—the suborder Ceratioidei ... The specimens that they were working with were all female, and they had no idea where the males were or what they looked like. Researchers sometimes found some other fish that seemed to be related based on their body structure, but they lacked the fearsome maw and lure typical of ceratioids and were much smaller—sometimes only as long as six or seven millimeters—and got placed into separate taxonomic groups.

It wasn’t until the 1920s—almost a full century after the first ceratioid was entered into the scientific record—that things started to become a little clearer. In 1922, Icelandic biologist Bjarni Saemundsson discovered a female ceratioid with two of these smaller fish attached to her belly by their snouts. He assumed it was a mother and her babies, but was puzzled by the arrangement.

“I can form no idea of how, or when, the larvae, or young, become attached to the mother. I cannot believe that the male fastens the egg to the female,” he wrote. “This remains a puzzle for some future researchers to solve.”

When Saemundsson kicked the problem down the road, it was Charles Tate Regan, working at the British Museum of Natural History in 1924, who picked it up. Regan also found a smaller fish attached to a female ceratioid. When he dissected it, he realized it wasn’t a different species or the female angler’s child. It was her mate.

The “missing” males had been there all along, just unrecognized and misclassified, and Regan and other scientists, like Norwegian zoologist Albert Eide Parr, soon figured out why the male ceratioids looked so different. They don’t need lures or big mouths and teeth because they don’t hunt, and they don’t hunt because they have the females. The ceratioid male, Regan wrote, is “merely an appendage of the female, and entirely dependent on her for nutrition.” In other words, a parasite. ...
FULL STORY: http://mentalfloss.com/article/57800/horrors-anglerfish-mating
 

Iris

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I'm sure I read ages ago that there was some kind of crab that stayed joined also.
 

EnolaGaia

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Good grief!
'Tis true, 'tis true ...

The means by which this fusion is accomplished has only recently been determined. This has raised new questions, because it would seem anglerfish don't possess (and may well have lost via evolution) the key elements of the adaptive immune system found in all other vertebrates.

https://www.sciencealert.com/angler...heir-mates-and-we-finally-know-how-they-do-it
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/07/29/science.aaz9445
 
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