Lover's Lane at St Croix Island
By Lloyd Edwards

Saturday, 8th February 2020

Lover's Lane at St Croix Island

People always ask why we call the protected bay on the West side of St Croix Island, "Lover's Lane". If you have a look at the attached photos, you will see why!

Before the British Settlers wiped out all the South African fur seals of St Croix Island, there must have been plenty of great white sharks around. This is no longer the case. So it is in this area where we usually find our huge schools of Indo-Pacific dolphins relaxing. They are protected by the island on one side and the water is shallow, precluding a shark attack from below. We know that when dolphins relax, the mating game commences. There is no better place to watch this along the South African coast!

Immediately after mating, the male dolphins breach out of the water, displaying their still erect penises. They have what is known as a "fibroelastic" penis, which means it contains plenty of collagen, making it very stiff and less extendable.

Female dolphins' vaginas are very complex, with plenty of internal flaps, twists, pockets and folds. By subtly moving her body to the side, she may limit the penetration of the penis. She may do this if she doesn't want a certain male to fertilise her egg. Males are known to isolate females and coerce mating, so this method may give her control over paternity. Sperm ejaculated in the wrong place may get stuck in a dead end and thus not lead to reproduction.

Penises of dolphins and other cetaceans are tucked away into the body cavity when not in use. A dolphin may also bare it's penis while engaging in sexual play with another male. Dolphins are one of the few animals that will also practice sexual activity for pleasure and not just reproduction.

 

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