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Females Have The Penis In Sex-Reversed Cave Insects

by Bidita Debnath on April 18, 2014 at 2:09 AM
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 Females Have The Penis In Sex-Reversed Cave Insects

Scientists reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives.

The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but related species in the genus Neotrogla, are the first example of an animal with sex-reversed genitalia.


"Although sex-role reversal has been identified in several different animals, Neotrogla is the only example in which the intromittent organ is also reversed," says Kazunori Yoshizawa from Hokkaido University in Japan.

During copulation, which lasts an impressive 40 to 70 hours, female insects insert an elaborate, penis-like organ into males' much-reduced, vagina-like opening. The researchers speculate that the insects' sex organs and sex-role reversal may have been driven over evolutionary time by the resource-poor cave environment in which the bugs live. Males of the genus provide females with nutritious seminal gifts in addition to sperm, making it advantageous for females to mate at a higher rate.

Source: Eurekalert

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