By Bryan Nelson, Mother Nature Network
Humans in many cultures like to think of themselves as a faithful species, but when it comes to true fidelity, many other animals offer better examples of how to keep a relationship together. Although monogamy and lifelong pair bonds are generally rare in the animal kingdom, here’s our list of 11 animals that pull it off.
Gibbons are the nearest relatives to humans that mate for life. They form extremely strong pair bonds and exhibit low sexual dimorphism, which means that males and females of the species are of roughly equal size, a testament to the fact that both sexes are on relatively equal footing in their relationships.
Swans form monogamous pair bonds that last for many years, and in some cases these can last for life. Their loyalty to their mates is so storied that the image of two swans swimming with their necks entwined in the shape of a heart has become a nearly universal symbol of true love.
Good looks are not a prerequisite to a faithful relationship. In fact, black vulture society makes sure of that. They have been known to attack other vultures that have been caught philandering!
Often portrayed as tricksters and con artists in popular folklore, wolves have a family life that is actually more loyal and pious than most human relationships. Normally, packs consist of a male, a female and their offspring, essentially making wolf packs akin to a nuclear family.
An albatross may fly great distances over the oceans, but despite its extensive travels, this bird will always return to the same place and the same partner when it’s time to breed. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years and will last for a lifetime, cemented through the use of goofy but affectionate ritual dances.
There’s a reason that turtle doves come in pairs of two in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. These emblems of love and faithfulness have even inspired poetry in Shakespeare, being the subject of his poem The Pheonix and the Turtle.
Schistosoma mansoni worms
They may not offer the conventional image of love, but these parasitic worms are usually far more faithful than the humans they inhabit. As unromantic as it sounds, they cause the disease schistosomiasis, also known as snail fever. When they reproduce sexually within the human body, they form loyal monogamous pair bonds that typically last the entire cycle.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons
They are the national emblem of the United States, and when it comes to maintaining relationships these birds soar much higher than the country they symbolize. Bald eagles typically mate for life, except in the event of their partner’s death or impotency a number far lower than America’s divorce rate, which now exceeds 50 percent.
Want to see more animal love? Check out our slideshow of cute, cuddling creatures.
For more animals that mate for life, click here to find the original article found on MNN.com.