Male wasps rely on a spiny penis for defence

Video: watson/Lucas Zollinger

28.12.2022, 09:2628.12.2022, 14:03

wasps. Who doesn’t know them, the nuisances of summer? Let’s pause for a moment and be grateful that at least now, in the cold months, we have peace from them.

Good, that’s enough. Let’s get down to business: Wasp Penises. Did you know that not all wasps have a stinger? It’s only the female specimens. However, there are wasp species in which the males have also developed a kind of pseudo-sting, which they use to copy the behavior of their female conspecifics. This pseudo spike is actually her penis.

Shinji Sugiura and Misaki Tsujii from the University of Kobe in Japan have in one Study investigates to what extent and how successful male specimens of the Australian wasp species are Anterhynchium gibbifrons use their penis to protect against predators. They documented the whole thing with moving images:

Video: watson/Lucas Zollinger

The balance of the study is mixed for the insects. It is clear that the penis spines are effective against the frogs (species Pelophylax nigromaculatus) be able to show. However, the wasps were eaten 65 percent of the time and survived only a third of the time.

Nevertheless, the prickly sex organ significantly improves the male wasp’s chance of survival. In a control group, the researchers removed the wasps’ penises. In this control group, 100 percent of the wasps were eaten.

Knowledge should also apply to other species

Not only wasps of the genus Anterhynchium have that spiky penis. According to the authors, the findings of this study should also apply to other species. (lzo)

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