50 Shades Of Wrong: The Crazy World Of Insect Sex

Gwen Pearson’s latest piece in Wired entitled, “50 Shades of WRONG: Disturbing Insect Sex,” explores the disturbing sexual exploits of insects. The Purdue Department of Entomology doctorate and Outreach Coordinator makes it clear in “50 Shades of WRONG” that humans have nothing on insects when it comes to rough and freaky sex.

According to Pearson, the ongoing tug of war to control fertilization has lead to bugs practicing “appallingly rough” sexual practices.

“Male penises are covered in spikes, scoops, harpoons, and stabby daggers,” Pearson writes.

“Females occasionally kill and eat their suitors. Why are insects’ tender moments so often nasty and brutish?”

The European Science Foundation reported that violent sex in the insect kingdom may actually help boost the insect’s immunity system. Since some species of insects engage in violent sex resulting in infected wounds, a powerful immune response would give species an added survival advantage.

Pearson discusses the sex lives and sex organs of several insects in “50 Shades of WRONG.” In one such example, a few species of male earwigs are known to have two penises, both designed to break off in the event of an emergency. Researchers studying one such species pinched the butts of males during mating, and in 75 percent of cases the males detached their penises – which remained in the female – thus slowing down the female’s re-mating. The males lived to mate again.

The fate of male honeybees post coitus is strikingly dramatic.

“Honey bees are perhaps the most famous of the c**k-blockers. First the young queen bee leads drones on a high-speed chase; only the fastest get a chance to mate and die,” Pearson writes.

“In a mid-air mating, the male honey bee’s penis explodes with ejaculation, and the eviscerated male falls from the sky to die alone in the shrubbery.”

Other spectacularly bizarre examples highlighted in “50 Shades of WRONG” include a common male fly used in biology labs that produces a giant sperm over two inches long – from which each sperm cell is 20 times longer than the fly itself.

In “50 Shades of WRONG,” stick bugs are saved for last, comically referred to as “tantric sex masters” for holding the record for the longest mating session at 79 consecutive days.

Pearson commented in “50 Shades of WRONG” that genitals play a huge role in sexual selection among insects, and that’s a major reason why entomologists spend so much time “hunched over specimens looking at the naughty bits.”

Such research tends to lead to what would appear to be strange experiments. The Inquisitr previously reported on research conducted on a male silkmoth that could successfully drive a robot toward the smell of sex.

[Image via Donald Jusa/Flickr]