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In animals, any activity directed toward perpetuation of a species. Sexual reproduction, the most common mode, occurs when a female's egg is fertilized by a male's sperm. The resulting unique combination of genes produces genetic variety that contributes to a species' adaptability. The stages of approach, identification, and copulation are well developed to avoid predators and the wastage of eggs and sperm. Most one-celled and some more-complex organisms reproduce asexually. See alsocourtship behaviour.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on reproductive behaviour, visit Britannica.com.
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