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Monogamous Animal Relationships (PHOTOS)

ThienVinh Nguyen   First Posted: 04/15/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 04:25 PM ET

While it's practically impossible to find an animal species that's completely monogamous (unless you count the angler fish or the flatworm fish, where the monogamous relationship requires the actual fusing of the bodies), there are a handful of animals in the animal kingdom that have an affinity toward monogamy.

Whether you think their relationships are romantic or not is up to you, but a number of creatures -- from primates to birds to marine life -- have found that choosing to be monogamous is more beneficial than having multiple partners.

Since we recently highlighted promiscuous animals, we thought in honor of Valentine's Day, we wanted to celebrate some happy pairs.

Check out these photos of (mostly) monogamous animals and vote for the sweetest couple!

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  • Beavers

    Beavers mate for life, and will only take on a new mate if the first one dies. Both parents raise their offspring together. However, while they tend to be monogamous on the whole, cheating can still take place among some couples.

  • Bald Eagles

    Bald eagles are known for remaining faithful and mating for life. Moreover, bald eagle couples are also known for their aerial acrobatic stunts together, which include locking their talons together and spiraling downward, only to release at the last minute.

  • Gibbons

    Gibbons are part of the 6% of primates that are monogamous. There are over 300 primate species in the world. Gibbons live in small monogamous families, with up to four offspring. The females are in charge. Finally, gibbon couples sing duets together.

  • Bonnethead Sharks

    Paternity tests of bonnethead sharks (a member of the hammerheads) show that a particular litter of baby sharks all come from the same father.

  • Prairie Vole

    Male prairie voles apparently stay with the female who took their virginity. Prairie voles usually stay monogamous, raising their offspring together. Scientists have discovered that prairie voles have hormones that trigger lasting relationships and show aggression toward those who try to break out of the monogamy system.

  • Black Vultures

    Black vultures mate for life, and if one vulture is suspected of cheating, a community of vultures will attack the cheating vulture.

  • California Mice

    California mice pair up for life and the male has an affinity toward raising the offspring. The presence of his mate and that of his young'uns keeps the male mouse faithful and parental.

  • Kirk's Dik-dik Antelope

    Kirk's dik-dik maintain close couple relationships, and mate with the same partner. The males have a tendency of being protective toward their female partners when they're going through a high fertility period. Interestingly, the males do not take care of offspring.

  • Prions

    Prions mate for life and prefer the familiar smell of their particular mate over a potentially new partner. While one prion is away foraging at sea, the other stays home to take care of the nest. Their attraction through the recognition of their mate's odor keeps them together.

  • Red-backed Salamander

    While this salamander species tend to be monogamous, they're also an extremely jealous bunch. Accused cheaters (both males and females) have to face the wrath of their mate: from threat displays to bites to a denial of affection. Ouch. No wonder most stay monogamous.


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