Who knew that the sex lives of African bat bugs could be so interesting? Males with female genitalia, female bugs with 'paragenitals' on their abdomens that guide the males to the right spot by basically impaling them if they mess up, males trying to impregnate males.
It's Extreme Transexualism, coming soon to a species near you.
Why is it necessary in these bugs? Males tend to get overanxious and just start stabbing away anywhere in the abdomen but they really need to go into a special warm place that some men on the internet know nothing about - though it's still in their abdomen, in the case of female bat bugs. Yes, male bat bugs use blood insemination and then the sperm have to swim to the ovaries.
It's gruesome and bizarre and therefore completely worthy of a science article that transcends zoology and gets right to the sexual politics.
This isn't the first time we have discussed evolutiuon and sex, of course. I remain convinced that females invented a 'glass ceiling' and choose to work for 70% of what we men work for to lull us into complacency while they cheat us by evolving multiple vaginas and it's no secret that Angelina Jolie evolved a better nose to get Brad Pitt.
Of course, females aren't the only ones with these kinds of evolutionary tricks up their sleeves. When Klaus Reinhardt of the University of Sheffield studied these bugs in Kenya, he found that plenty of males had abdominal scarring too. So they were basically impaled by other males. Males are such randy critters.
To defend against that trauma, both psychological and real ( unless you own the Oz DVD box set in which case, whatever, it's no big deal ), some males have developed ... female genitalia. Yes, it seems these bugs have more morphologies than the Power Rangers. It's not bad logic. If you're going to be stomach-raped anyway it's better to make it as easy as possible to recover.
So the next time your wife/girlfriend/significant other ( blah, blah, blah ) demands you shell out money for dinner before doing The Dance Of The Dirty Frog, be thankful it's not the dance of the African bug bat.
Research data by Klaus Reinhardt - Sexual conflict: The evolution of traumatic insemination.