Posted in July 2011

Will male cottony cushion scales survive their own mating strategy?

Will male cottony cushion scales survive their own mating strategy?

A friend of mine just brought my attention to this article in the New York Times Science section today. An insect known as the cottony cushion scale (Icerya purchasi) exists in two sexes: hermaphrodites and males. Here’s the twist: the hermaphrodites are females infected with the parasitic tissue of a male (her “father”). This parasitic tissue is able to act as the male part of … Continue reading

Save some of that sperm for later

Save some of that sperm for later

In spiders, there are many species where the males only get one chance to pass on their genes. They stop making sperm as soon as they become adults, and after one sexual encounter, their sperm are all used up. In the great game of evolution, this isn’t the best strategy. They’ve quite literally put all their eggs in one basket. … Continue reading

Correction–Frog sex!

Correction–Frog sex!

In my last post I stated that because frogs(Xenopus laevis) have external fertilization, there would be no frog sex pictures. Well, I was wrong! These frogs do, in fact, “mate”, but not in the way you’re used to thinking about it. Instead of penetrating the female to inseminate her, the male instead grasps the female from behind with “nuptial pads” … Continue reading

Egg jelly kicks sperm into gear in frogs

Egg jelly kicks sperm into gear in frogs

Sorry, but there won’t be any pictures of frogs having sex in this post. Why not? Because frogs (Xenopus laevis) are external fertilizers; the females lay their eggs in a pond, and then the males release sperm out into the open water. In just plain pond water, frog sperm will slow down within minutes. This is a … Continue reading