Researchers have discovered that bat bugs, an African insect, have developed an interesting evolutionary trait to protect themselves from….themselves. According to this article on nationalgeographic.com, bat bugs–a relative and fellow blood sucker to bed bugs–have a pretty gruesome mating ritual. Male bat bugs do not perform their coital duties like gentleman. Rather, they prefer to use their sharp, pointed members to stab their female partners right through their exoskeletons, injecting sperm directly into the bloodstream. As an evolutionary response to this, female bat bugs have developed fake genitals or “paragenitals” on their backs that guide the males’ appendages into a spongy landing area where they cannot do as much harm. But wait, there’s more!
An illustration of bat bugs recreating a scene from West Side Story
Male bat bugs don’t only mate with females; they mate with males as well, stabbing each other in the backs and causing massive amounts of damage to one another. How do they protect themselves? Why with paragentials of course! Researcher, Klaus Reinhardt of the University of Sheffield in England, has recently discovered that male bat bugs have developed paragentials to protect themselves. But wait, there’s more!
Reinhardt also discovered that some females are now developing paragenitals that are more like the successful males’ paragentials then their own. Why not give peace a chance?
Where will it end?