This female insect extends its ‘penis’ to penetrate the male ‘vagina’

This female insect extends its ‘penis’ to penetrate the male ‘vagina’

This female insect extends its ‘penis’ to penetrate the male ‘vagina’

The animal world is full of cuteness weird genitalsfrom the Argonauts that disconnect your own semen arm and send him to find a female to mate with male echidnas with four ending penises. Some insects even their genitals were armed to fight predators.

In another standout arrangement, male and female bark beetles living in caves Neotrogl (distant relatives of the book lice) swapped typical genital structures, with females wielding protruding parts and males with a cavity.

Hyena and elephant women also have protruding pieces – elongated genitalia in question pseudo-penises – but males of every species still have dangling parts as well.

Transparent and opaque protuberance.
Gynosome of the female lice. (Kazunori Yoshizawa)

However, in the case of fecal-eating bat lice, males have a vagina-like indentation into which females insert their penis-like structure – called the gynosome – to attach themselves to and suck out semen.

Based on previous researchHokkaido University entomologist Zixin Cheng and colleagues used computed microtomography to create 3D models of copulating winged insects from caves in Brazil to determine how these structures function and possibly determine how the genitals were completely inverted.

They confirmed that unlike other female protruding genitals such as pseudopenises, the gynosome is a more complex organ with specific muscles and tubes that suit its unique sucking purpose.

Using hooks at the base of the gynosome, females can cling to males for a shockingly long time – up to 70 hours in fact.

One set of muscles helps the gynosome to expand and enter the male, where it fills with semen which it sucks in. Then another set of muscles contracts the organ so that it can place the sperm into a pair of storage holes in the female’s body.

“This unique feature makes female-female competition more intense, favoring the evolution of the female penis,” the team explains. he writes in his article.

Transparent organ with inflated end
The inflated ginosome of a female lice. (Kazunori Yoshizawa/Hokkaido University)

With two semen storage organs, Neotrogl women can get double the amount of sperm. This extra storage space may be a clue as to why the insects are so active in their search for sperm.

The semen is packaged in a nutrient-filled bag spermatophores. In resource-deprived cave environments, these nutrients may serve another important purpose. Moreover, females have been observed extraction of nutritious sperm packets even if they are too young to breed.

“The most likely explanation is this [evolution of] the female penis was promoted by sexual selection to receive more sperm nourishment,” Cheng and colleagues to explain.

The team suspects that the females may be sucking up the males for food.

Spousal donation of nutrients by spermatophores is known in other insectsbut tracing what happens to the male victim within the female would be required to confirm this.

The lack of reliable grubs in Brazilian caves “is probably a major factor facilitating the evolution of gender reversal,” says entomologist and senior author Kazunori Yoshizawa of Hokkaido University in Japan he explained the New York Times.

This study was published in Royal Open Science Society.

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