A whiff of Spring!

Here on the sun-drenched shores of NC, spring has arrived at last! The winds are settling down into their southwesterly flow and warm air is beginning to waft gently around our noses, bringing us the delightful smells of the season; the sweet lilac, the understated flowering dogwood, the sweet and sour bradford pear, and the bitter onion grass. (Those of you who’ve seen me in profile will instantly understand why I describe scenes in smells!)

Spring is also the season known for new growth of all sizes and types. Several of the more common species begin their reproductive cycles in early spring and it is nearly always a welcome signal of more temperate weather. I say “nearly always” because there is one species who’s mating season also seems to get underway in spring, but it involves some very odd behaviors that are not entirely comfortable to witness.

The species to which I am referring is the Adolesence horniarus, or Common Adolescent.  The Common Adolescent was long thought to be a bizarre subspecies of human beings, but recent DNA and hormonal analyses have indicated that it is far more likely that these two species are a product of coevolution and only superficially related.

The CA is a curious organism in that technically it can reproduce throughout the year, but it appears that with the onset of warmer weather in the temperate regions, the desire to procreate dominates every other behavior to an alarming degree. Even more strangely, the CA does not appear to choose its prospective mates according to any criteria at all, unless proximity counts as a selector. In fact, the Common Adolescent doesn’t appear to be monogamous in any way and one can observe some truly bizarre and distasteful (for a human) behavior in a relatively short period of time.

Apparently due to the lack of any rhyme or reason in selecting mating partners, the Common Adolescent appears to try several different tactics common to humans to attract potential mates, but (perhaps due to the suspension of higher cognitive functions during the mating season) they are not terribly good at employing them. Several CA females have been observed mimicking the provacative dress of human women, but their outfits tend to have all the subtlety and charm of West Hollywood’s Voyeur.  Meanwhile the CA males have learned to successfully mimic the grunting that human males employ to charm women, but are failing miserably at the application of cologne. It is possible that the Common Adolescent’s sense of smell is duller than the typical human’s, so this is perhaps understandable.

All things considered the Common Adolescent is a fascinating species and if you get the chance, well worth spending some time observing in their natural habitats which include Wal Marts, fast food joints, and school hallways. Learning more about the habits of native species is sure to enhance your appreciation for the seasons and the natural rhythms of life all around you.


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