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Cockroaches nibble each other’s wings after sex: study



Cockroaches nibble each other's wings after sex: study

Like an entomological Armie Hammer?

They say cockroaches will inherit the earth. However, it’s a wonder they reproduce at all: Japanese researchers revealed that these household pests have a penchant for biting their mate’s wings while getting jiggy with it.

“Within mating pairs of a wood‐feeding cockroach, males and females eat the mate’s wings . . . which is the first ‘mutual’ case in these behaviors,” said Haruka Osaki and Eiiti Kasuya from Kyushu University’s Department of Biology. They authored the kinky study, which was published in the science journal Ethology.

Osaki first stumbled upon the consensual cannibalism while collecting the wood-eating roaches — which are dark and glossy and grow up to an inch long — in the wild as a biology student. She noticed that their wings looked like they may have been “chewed.”

In order to decipher the bizarre bug bites, the research gathered young adult cockroaches from Yona Field in Okinawa, Japan, and put them in lab containers, creating 24 couples. She then videotaped their behavior over four days.

Osaki found that half of the pairs engaged in wing-eating. Specifically, one roach would mount its mate and start chewing on their flying appendages before they would switch positions so the other could have a nibble.

And while some of the munched-on bugs would shudder violently, prompting their paramour to take a break from their ghoulish meal, a majority didn’t seem to mind having their wings clipped.

This makes the species the first-known practitioners of mutual sexual cannibalism, which differs from most iterations in which the dominant partner kills the other. Perhaps the most infamous example of intraspecies snacking is female praying mantises devouring their hubby’s head mid-coitus in order to increase the potential for offspring.

Scientists haven’t nailed down why exactly cockroaches de-wing each other during sex. However, unlike mantises, these kitchen pillagers likely don’t gnaw for sustenance — as the sexperiment’s subjects engaged in the practice even when “sufficient food was provided,” per the study.

Researchers postulate that wing-removal helps prevent the adults from being encumbered by unnecessary appendages, especially as the wings are magnets for mites and mold.

Not to mention that losing their wings frees up the monogamous species to invest more in caring for their progeny.

It would appear that marriage literally keeps them grounded.

“Mutual wing‐eating may be an example of true cooperation and may help explain some interactions between females and males from a new viewpoint,” said Osaki of the findings.

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Bill Gates said to be growing potatoes for McDonald’s fries




Bill Gates said to be growing potatoes for McDonald's fries

Next time you savor a McDonald’s french fry, remember to thank Bill Gates for the tasty spud.

As reported in The Post, the soon-to-be single computer magnate happens to own more farmland than anyone else in the United States. Known for loving fast food — although his burger of choice comes from the Washington-based chainlet Burgermaster — Gates, according to NBC News, grows potatoes for McDonald’s in fields so vast they can be scoped from outer space.

Although Gates has focused his energies on saving our climate, he has made clear that the tater patches are strictly money-making operations.

“My investment group chose to do this,” stated Farmer Bill during an AMA on Reddit. “It is not connected to climate.”

Considering that Gates is said to own 269,000 acres of fertile land in 18 states, it’s easy to imagine him keeping track of it all on some souped-up series of spreadsheets. If so, gangs of divorce lawyers — including some who worked on the Jeff Bezos bust-up — have surely been scrutinizing the potato haul. Gates, the fourth-richest person in the world, married his impending ex, Melinda, without a prenuptial agreement, so they will be splitting property via a so-called “separation contract.”

No word on whether or not she will soon reign as McDonald’s potato queen.

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Honeybee worker can produce millions of identical clones, study shows




Honeybee worker can produce millions of identical clones, study shows

A South African subspecies of the honeybee is reportedly able to produce millions of clones of itself. 

According to new research published in the journal Current Biology and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, one such insect – known as the Cape honeybee or Apis mellifera capensis– has managed to do so many times over the past 30 years. 

It’s a process called thelytokous parthenogenesis, which a group of international scientists said is akin to the “virgin birth of a female.” 

While asexual reproduction is fairly common, genetically identical offspring is not. 

The exchange of genetic material between different organisms, or “recombination,” normally leads to the production of offspring with combinations of different traits.

If there even is only one parent, New Scientist noted, offspring born from thelytokous parthenogenesis will still be born with a slightly different genetic makeup.

And yet, the worker Cape honeybee has reportedly found a way to reduce recombination and remain genetically healthy, whereas asexual reproduction has been lethal in honeybees before, resulting in inbred larvae that don’t survive. 

“For workers, it is important to reduce the frequency of recombination so as to not produce offspring that are homozygous.”

In order to learn more, the paper’s authors “experimentally manipulated” Cape workers and Cape queens to reproduce thelytokously.

“The two female castes of the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis, differ in their mode of reproduction. While workers always reproduce thelytokously, queens always mate and reproduce sexually,” the researchers explained in the paper’s abstract.

Performing fieldwork at South Africa’s Plant Protection Research Institute in Stellenbosch, the team instrumentally inseminated a queen with the semen of a single male and then introduced a brood comb holding several hundred eggs laid by the queen into a colony to be reared. 

Queens were made to reproduce asexually using what researchers said amounted to a “chastity belt.”

“When the queens were 5 days post eclosion we constrained them in an artificial insemination apparatus [37] without narcosis. We then glued a 5 mm piece of surgical tape (Micropore, 3M, Minnesota) over the sting chamber using nail varnish,” the paper explained. 

The researchers monitored the queens, confirming the chastity belts were intact after each flight around the colony and, eventually, compared asexually reproduced larvae of the queen to those of the workers.

“We monitored the queens closely for the next two weeks, to determine if and when oviposition had commenced. We collected larvae as soon as they appeared into ethanol,” the researchers wrote.

“Not all queens flew, not all returned from mating flights, and not all laid. In the end, we were able to harvest one queen and 25 of her larval progeny into ethanol.”

The group also genotyped four workers and 63 of their larvae.

Ultimately, the authors found that the queen showed levels of genetic recombination 100 times more than seen in the cloned offspring of the worker bees.

“Using a combination of microsatellite genotyping and whole-genome sequencing we find that a reduction in recombination is confined to workers only,” the abstract concluded.

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Russia’s navy kicks off large-scale drills in Pacific ocean




Russia's navy kicks off large-scale drills in Pacific ocean

Large-scale drills of Russia’s Pacific Fleet began in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on Thursday, June 10.

According to the ministry, 20 warships, submarines and support vessels are taking part in the exercises. In particular the missile cruiser “Varyag”, the large anti-submarine ship “Admiral Panteleev”, the frigate “Marshal Shaposhnikov” as well as other military and support vessels.

In addition, about 20 aircraft are involved in the exercise, including Tu-142mz long-range anti-submarine aircraft and MiG-31BM high-altitude fighter-interceptors.

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