A Valentine for Sci-Art Lovers

A clever print by designer Jacqueline Schmidt pays homage to 12 different species with one thing in common—they mate for life

Mates for Life
Mates for Life Jacqueline Schmidt at Screech Owl Design

Happy Valentine’s Day, Collage readers! I’ll be brief. I just wanted to pass along this cool find—a print by artist and designer Jacqueline Schmidt. In a style that smacks of scientific illustration, Schmidt depicts 12 species that, generally, remain loyal to a single mate over the course of a lifetime.

With gray wolves (#1, in the diagram), couples pair off Sadie-Hawkins style. The female determines her mate. The alpha female and alpha male are the only pair to breed, from January to March each year, in a pack of wolves, and they keep things monogamous. Meadow voles (#6) are quite loyal. The rodents make the most of their short lives; a female lives less than a year, on average, but starts breeding with a single mate about 28 days into life. Males are sexually mature by 35 days. Termites (#7) have been found to use a “honeymoon” period to welcome other suitors to the log, but they ultimately settle down with one partner. Sandhill cranes (#12) also form until-death-do-us-part bonds. A male and female perform unison calls to solidify their relationship; then, leading up to mating, there is an elaborate dance ritual. Both cranes take care of the nest.

As the founder of Screech Owl Design, Schmidt is known for taking on natural subjects and delivering calendars, t-shirts, stationary and posters in an urban-chic kind of way. “This ability was first shaped by childhood migrations between New York City, where she was born and raised, and her Catskills summer home,” says Schmidt’s  Web site. This particular print, made of 100 percent recycled paper, is titled “Mates for Life.”

To learn about ocean animals that (sort of) mate for life, read this Surprising Science post, provided by Emily Frost of the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal.

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