When it comes to mating games, all animals have their quirks. However, the insect world may take the prize for the strangest mating rituals. Humans may be downright horrified when they find out how insects hook up.
We’re already familiar with the mating peculiarities of the praying mantis and bees, but there are insects that have far stranger mating moves.
Indeed, these creatures engage in some bizarre shenanigans to attract or reject the objects of their desire. Each insect does something that either baffles you or blow your mind.
1. Wasp Spiders and the 10-Second Rule
This spider got its name because the colors on its belly remind people of wasps. They’re usually found in central and norther Europe, northern Africa, and some parts of Asia. More recently, they’ve also been spotted in North America.
Male wasp spiders are under pressure to mate with females quickly. Researchers noted that if they take more than 10 seconds, then they get eaten by the females. What’s even more disturbing is that male spiders are able to stick to the 10-second rule when they mate with their sisters. However, when these male spiders mate with non-related females, they tend to take their time, so they end up dead.
2. Bedbugs Get Rough
Bedbugs are among the most hated insects of all time. These bugs have a rather brutal mating ritual. The genitalia of males have been described as “sword-like.” They deposit their seed directly into the female’s abdominal opening.
The males’ organs also have chemoreceptors that are able to detect if the female has been mating with another male. When male bedbugs detect that the female has been active with other males, they deposit less of their seed into her.
For their part, female bedbugs have reproductive organ called the spermalege, a sponge-like opening that’s suited for the rough insemination.
3. Female Weevils Mount Each Other to Attract Males
Scientists have discovered that small weevils with the scientific name Diaprepes abbreviatus have a really racy mating ritual. The female weevils have a very elaborate trick for attracting males. They “pretend to be lesbians.”
It seems that the female weevils mount each other and pretend to be mating. According to a BBC News feature, the females mount each other for up to 17 minutes at a time. They do it until a male weevil wanders into their space. Apprently the sight of the two females mounting each other would drive him to push away one of the females so he can be the one to mount one of them.
These quirky weevils are native to Florida.
4. Male Water Striders Use Fear to Get Females
Water striders, which go by the scientific name Gerridae, are classified under the order Hemiptera. They are known for their ability to walk on water. Their unique anatomy makes it possible.
Normally, male water striders don’t get sexually aggressive. That’s because the females of this specie prefer low-key males.
However, when male water striders decide to be “macho,” they really get nasty. An aggressive male would usually hover above a female that’s on the water. When the male does this, the female is trapped underneath him. Once he has her in this vulnerable position, he scares her by tapping on the surface of the water with his legs. The motion of the male water strider’s legs attract hungry fish. Of course, the female water strider would get scared. So, in order to survive, the female has no choice but to give in to the male’s sexual demands.
5. Female Crickets Prioritize Size
Crickets are known for their “singing.” Many of us assume that they pick mates based on how well they sing. However, that isn’t the case.
Female crickets pick males based on the size of their genitalia. If they have several “suitors,” the females always go for the males with the biggest ones.
Then again, this doesn’t mean that females stick to just one mate. Aside from their primary mate, they also fool around with other males.
6. Male Soapberry Bugs Do It for 24 Hours
Soapberry bugs are known for being seed-eaters. In most soapberry bug communities, there are very few females. As such, the males get very territorial with their mates.
Males prolong their sexy time with females for as long as 24 hours. Apparently, they want to make sure that no other males can mate with her. Unfortunately, some females die during these intense mating sessions. What’s disturbing is that many males continue to mate with the females even after they’ve died.
7. Female Dragonflies Use Death to Deter Males
Female dragonflies of the insect species Aeshna juncea have discovered a way to get rid of unwanted male attention. These female dragonflies pretend to be dead. They lie motionless on the ground until the male pursuing them leaves the area.
Rassim Khelifa, a zoologist from the University of Zurich, studied these dragonflies and came up with the reason for the female dragonflies’ “death trick.” In his study published in the scientific journal Ecology, Khelifa called it “sexual death feigning.”
It’s because these male dragonflies would simply leave females after they mated with them. The female dragonfly would then have to lay eggs on her own without any protection. Apparently, this is one insect that puts a premium on males being responsible mates.
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