Tough Love: Male Parasite Stabs Female in Neck With Penis
Yet another animal practices a bizarre mating strategy called traumatic insemination, a new study says.
For some animals, sex seems more like an act of war.
In a diverse array of species—including worms, spiders, snails, and bedbugs—the male stabs the female with his penis, injecting sperm directly into her body cavity.
This bizarre mating strategy is called traumatic insemination—and now there's another species to add to the list of tormenters: a parasitic insect called Stylops ovinae. (See photos: "Torture Phalluses Give Beetles Breeding Boost.")
Like other species of twisted-winged parasites, male and female S. ovinae lead very different lives. Males, which live mere hours, fly around looking for females.
Females, meanwhile, are busy parasitizing other insects, such as bees: Almost all of their tiny bodies are hidden inside the abdomens of their hosts. With no need to move, females lack wings, eyes, antennae, legs, and genitalia. ("Meet Five 'Zombie' Parasites That Mind-Control Their Hosts.")
To get around this problem, the male attaches to the host insect’s abdomen and then stabs its