In the deepest darkest depths of Vietnam, two new herpetological (reptile and amphibian) species have been discovered. These creatures – dubbed ‘lesbian lizards’ and ‘psychedelic geckos’ – were found by expert Lee Grismer and his son, Jesse on a 2 week expedition to Southeast Asia. The lesbian lizards are asexual and arouse each other by mock mating. This in turn causes them to ovulate and lay eggs – and produce clones of themselves.
So far biologists have identified 27 kinds of parthenogenetic lizards—all-female species that lay eggs to produce exact genetic copies of the mother. On field trips in Arizona and Colorado, a team of researchers headed by Psychobiologist David Crews found that four of these species engage in mock male-female sex. An active female mounts a passive one, curves the tail under the other’s body, strokes the partner’s back and neck, joins genital regions, and rides on top for one to five minutes. The active female lizard always has small undeveloped eggs, while the passive female has large pre-ovulatory eggs. But there are cyclic variations in behavior and egg size in these reptiles, and roles reverse; the passive female of one encounter can be the active partner of the next. Says Crews: “We are now trying to determine whether this malelike behavior facilitates reproductive function.” Translation: the psychobiologist does not yet know why the females mock the male-female behavior of related two-sex species. The eggs hatch with or without the lesbian courtship.