Filed under Sexual conflict

Beetle moms benefit from absentee dads

Beetle moms benefit from absentee dads

What’s good for the goose ain’t always good for the gander–until it is. In evolutionary biology-speak, sexual selection happens when one sex benefits from something that harms the other. For example, male seed beetles use their spiky penises to transfer as much sperm as possible during mating, but as you might imagine, those spikes aren’t … Continue reading

Measuring the force of a duck penis. For science!

Measuring the force of a duck penis. For science!

Scientists hope to measure the force experienced by female ducks when a drake’s penis penetrates them (can I call it ‘penile force’?). Meanwhile, the battle of the sexes rages on… Update April 2, 2013: The original video I had on here, which explained the purpose of the research, is no longer available. But here’s a … Continue reading

Evolution, sex, and spiky penises

Evolution, sex, and spiky penises

Male seed beetles (Callosobruchus maculatus) have long spikes covering their penises (or adeagus, if you want to be scientific about it). These spikes are thought to have evolved in response to female promiscuity, as a way of increasing the male’s chances of fertilizing a female’s eggs. Females, in response to the spikes, have evolved every man’s worst … Continue reading

Daughters get cheating gene from Dad

Daughters get cheating gene from Dad

In honor of Father’s day, I have a story about fathers and daughters. Zebra finches are socially monogamous birds. This means that, like humans, they generally form lifetime relationships with a single partner. Also like many humans, they’re known to sleep around. For males, this makes sense, from an evolutionary standpoint. The males can increase … Continue reading

Love is (sometimes) a battlefield

Love is (sometimes) a battlefield

Ladies, how much influence do your (male) mates have over you? If people are anything like insects, it might be more than you realize. Thankfully, humans aren’t quite insects. In the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), males have a considerable amount of control over their mates. And they keep exerting their control long after they’ve moved on … Continue reading