Scientists from Lund University in Sweden have made a novel discovery that may help deal with bedbug infestation.
According to lead researcher Camilla Ryne, bedbugs are notoriously undiscerning about who they mount, and are accustomed to stab their penis straight into another male's abdomen.
AdvertisementWhile, female bedbugs have a structure beneath their carapace to guide the penis into a mass of infection-fighting immune cells, but males are devoid of such fortification.
They appear to have evolved a way of telling mistaken mounters to move away.
In the new study, Ryne found that male bedbugs respond by emitting a pheromone normally used to warn off predators.
Males with blocked glands were mounted as often as other males, but for longer and suffered more wounds.
"This is the first time I've seen an alarm pheromone used as a sexual one," New Scientist quoted Ryne as saying.
She added the chemical could be used to deal with bedbug infestation.
The study appears in journal Animal Behaviour.