Scientists have discovered several species of insect in a cave in Brazil that display what they say are the world’s first discovered instances of female “penises.”
The four species of insect, which live in dry Brazilian caves and feed on bat guano, display something scientists are calling an “evolutionary novelty”: full-on, anatomical sex-role reversal. Though rare, instances of sex-role reversal have been found in other animals before, but this is the first time the “intromittent organ,”—the male organ—is reversed, Reuters reports.
During mating, the female receives sperm by inserting a penis-like organ, which scientists call a gynosome, into the male, which they can hold in place against the male’s will.
“Because the female anchoring force is very strong, a male’s strong resistance may cause damage to his genitalia,” said entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa. “Therefore, it is very likely that entire mating processes are controlled actively by females, whereas males are rather passive.”
The sex-role reversed insects, which all belong to the genus Neotragla, may be on to something—mating sessions can last from 40 to up to 70 hours long.
- How the Biden Administration Lost Its Way
- Hanya Yanagihara Is Never Going to Read Your Mean Tweets
- Inside Finland's Plan to End All Waste by 2050
- Chloe Kim Is Ready to Win Olympic Gold Again—On Her Own Terms
- Asia Has Kept COVID-19 at Bay for 2 Years. Omicron Could Change That
- Investors Are Sinking Real Money Into Virtual Real Estate, With No Guarantees
- The Man Putin Fears