Thursday, February 12, 2015

14 Days of Genitals, Day 12: Traumatic Insemination

Trigger warning on this one - Bed Bugs are NOT nice to each other. 
Bed bugs have never been all that appreciated by humans and that's probably gonna continue after you read the following. Bed bugs, specifically Cimex lectularius, have a special little mating adaptation called Traumatic Insemination, which is about as clear a scientific term as there ever was.

The most painful piercing ever

A male bed bug pierces the female's abdominal wall with his broadsword and splooges right into her body cavity. Evolution has come to the female's aid to a degree - scientists have observed a mass of cells that form in the target zone that provide a little more cushion for the pushing. Still, the spiky shlongs create open wounds in the female's body cavity, which takes a long time to heal and makes the female more prone to infection. Female bed bugs experience reduced longevity and reproductive success after the episodes of sexual assault, and scientists believe that this behavior evolved as a coercive male copulatory strategy and results in a sexual conflict of interests.

A. Male bed bug dick; B. Female bed bug with box over preferred mating site known as the ectospermalege;
C. Zoom-in on ectospermalege. Figure from Stutt & Siva-Jothy 2001

Not being the brightest of microscopic insects, male bed bugs are notoriously indiscriminate in their mate choice and will frequently attempt to mate with another dude bed bugs. They will grab and punch away at their male companion who, unlike the females, has NOT evolved some extra sex amour down there. Nothing like a little taste of your own medicine to settle the score! 
Now everyone, sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs pierce holes into your body in attempt to fill you up with love juice. 

That is the saying, right?? 

Now watch this totally bizarre yet wonderful video all about bed bug sex!

Apparently we also got scooped by I Fucking Love Science, who posted their bedbug story just hours before ours. Everyone loves horrible bedbug sex we guess?

Works Cited

Reinhardt, K., Naylor, R., & Siva–Jothy, M. T. (2003). Reducing a cost of traumatic insemination: female bedbugs evolve a unique organ. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences270(1531), 2371-2375.

Stutt, A. D., & Siva-Jothy, M. T. (2001). Traumatic insemination and sexual conflict in the bed bug Cimex lectularius. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences98(10), 5683-5687.


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