Can Animals Really Be Gay?

Or are they just curious?

Minette Layne

Scientists at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island recently reported on the same-sex mating habits of Octopoteuthis deletron, a deep-sea squid that indiscriminately shoots sperm packets onto both male and female squids passing by.

See our survey of the animal kingdom’s glorious rainbow.

O. deletron isn’t alone in its same-sex sexual behavior. In a review article published in 2009, biologists Nathan Bailey and Marlene Zuk at the University of California, Riverside, noted that “many thousands of instances of same-sex courtship, pair bonding and copulation have been observed in a wide range of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, mollusks and nematodes.”

Some animals, when given a choice, show a preference for the same sex, and researchers have even ascribed a same-sex sexual orientation to members of certain species. Read on for some fascinating examples.

Jennifer Abbasi is a science and health writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Follow Jen on Twitter @jenabbasi and email her at popsci.thesexfiles@gmail.com.