Bisexual Bugs And Penis Bones: What Nature Teaches Us About Gettin’ It On

Zebra finches, bonobo chimps, and lots of other animals get gay with each other. But a recent article from a University of California biology professor reveals an entire insect world crawling with bisexual beetles, dandy dragonflies and fruit flies that become much fruitier when drunk. Come into our parlor and learn more!

Marlene Zuk recently shared some findings from her upcoming book Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love and Language From the Insect World and found that among many beetles, locusts, wasps that exhibit gay behaviors, blue-tailed damselfly males will have sex with each other when the women aren’t around. Both chrysanthemum longicorn beetles and African bat bugs only find out their mate’s gender after mounting them (which results in lots of wasted time). Male flour beetles will sometimes leave enough sperm on one another that they inadvertently impregnate females with the other beetle’s sperm. And sometimes male English tiny flies will mount other males like they’re gonna frug just to keep their male competitors from mating with nearby ladies (this move definitely works in bars).

But among the most interesting tales of gay buggery are the small Hawaiian spiders that give a new meaning to “hooking-up”:

The males and females of a small spider that biologist Rosemary Gillespie studied in Hawaii do not exhibit any elaborate courtship behavior before mating. Instead, they simply leap at each other, fangs outstretched. If such abrupt amorousness is acceptable to both parties, the fangs become locked together (giving new meaning to the phrase “hooking up”), and the female curls her abdomen around so that the male can insert his sperm-bearing organ into her reproductive opening. A captive pair of males that Gillespie had collected a few weeks earlier exhibited much the same behavior in their container, remaining coupled for 17 minutes. Similar same-sex pairings, usually between males, have been seen in captive and wild beetles, locusts, wasps, and a kind of fly that lives near streams and lays eggs in water lilies.

And while genetic scientists have long enjoyed toying with the brains of the fruit fly Drosophila to create same-sex “courtship chains” of genital licking, Japanese scientists also found that male fruit flies exposed to ethanol—the type of alcohol in beer and liquor—exhibit same-sex courtship and do it even more when repeatedly exposed to the alcohol.

Then finally, Bil Browning from The Bilerico Project wondered why human males lack the penis bones found in monkeys raccoons and bats. To answer his question, he found a Discovery article that says when God took Adam’s “rib” to create Eve in the Bible book, he actually took Adam’s penis bone. Wait… this from a “science” website?

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #biology #gayanimals #science stories and more


  • Hyhybt

    I’d expect a penis bone to be inconvenient in an upright-walking species.

  • Erik Walton

    It would eliminate the need for Viagra, however there would need to be some wardrobe alterations… @Hyhybt:

  • christopher di spirito

    Oh my God! Don’t tell Maggie the Cow Gallagher or she’ll start a war on animals and insects.

  • Conrad

    Ahahaa! The animal kingdom and the gay agenda. Maggie will have a conniption.

  • B

    QUEERTY: ‘Wait… this from a “science” website?”

    From the “Discovery” article: “One of the creation stories in Genesis may be an explanatory myth wherein the Bible attempts to find a cause for why human males lack this particular bone.” This popular magazine (which is not a ‘science’ website) is merely pointing out one possible motivation for a creation myth.

    Understanding how creation myths arose is a reasonable research topic for anthropologists. You don’t have to believe the myths to formulate a hypothesis regarding how they were developed.

  • xander

    Now we have to not give alcohol to any insects living in our homes because they’ll get heteroflexible? Okay, add that to the house rules: no open pino grigio or PBR in the cellar.

    Don’t those little critters realise that this behaviour is against the instruction manual called the Bible? Destined for hell, every one of them. Aaaaaack.

  • Lisa

    Hahahahahaha amazing job

Comments are closed.