Friday Weird Science: Female Water Striders Make them Work for it

Sci is stuck in the car dealership waiting for her baby to get her checkup. There are good things about this (free wireless!), but the coffee here is TERRIBLE. Bringing own coffee next time. But it also means there’s plenty of time to bring you your daily dose of weird science!

water strider1.png
Now, in most insect species, the female doesn’t have a lot of choice whether or not she gets mated with. The time comes, the males fight each other, and the poor female is stuck for it. But in other species, a male has to prove himself, and it’s up to the female to accept him or not. Perhaps the best-known example is a dung beetle, who makes up a nice, tasty ball of crap for his special lady friend. If it’s big enough, he’s good to go. Otherwise, no thanks, try again, and make sure the dung is FRESH this time.

Well it turns out that there are several species of female insects that can’t be “coerced” into mating. Rather, they have to be persuaded. The question is, what is the difference between those who are coerced and those who are persuaded. Scientists have hypothesized that the difference might be hidden genetalia. If the male can’t find it, he can’t force it. And it turns out, in water striders, this may make the difference.
ResearchBlogging.org Han and Jablonski. “Female genetalia concealment promotes intimate male courtship in a water strider” PLoS ONE, 2009.

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Stopsilence

The Silence is the Enemy Campaign continues! Please take a look around the blogs that are participating, there’s some GREAT stuff going on. For a full list, check out the Intersection. And a good number (including this one) are donating their clicks to Doctors Without Borders in honor of Silence is the Enemy.

As far as individual posts, may Sci recommend the ones over at Mad Scientist, Jr. Toaster has a bunch of really good posts on the men involved, how society makes them into men who can belittle (and some who can rape) women, and how we might go about changing this. It’s a very thought-provoking series.
She also recommends some interesting posts (and conversations) going on at Almost Diamonds. Check them out.

And last, but not least, the talented Arikia has donated her time to create a website devoted to Silence is the Enemy!

http://www.stopsilence.com/

It’s great that this is picking up steam, and more in always better. Keep clicking, and keep reading!

Friday Weird Science: Female Water Striders Make them Work for it

Sci is stuck in the car dealership waiting for her baby to get her checkup. There are good things about this (free wireless!), but the coffee here is TERRIBLE. Bringing own coffee next time. But it also means there’s plenty of time to bring you your daily dose of weird science!

water strider1.png

Now, in most insect species, the female doesn’t have a lot of choice whether or not she gets mated with. The time comes, the males fight each other, and the poor female is stuck for it. But in other species, a male has to prove himself, and it’s up to the female to accept him or not. Perhaps the best-known example is a dung beetle, who makes up a nice, tasty ball of crap for his special lady friend. If it’s big enough, he’s good to go. Otherwise, no thanks, try again, and make sure the dung is FRESH this time.

Well it turns out that there are several species of female insects that can’t be “coerced” into mating. Rather, they have to be persuaded. The question is, what is the difference between those who are coerced and those who are persuaded. Scientists have hypothesized that the difference might be hidden genetalia. If the male can’t find it, he can’t force it. And it turns out, in water striders, this may make the difference.

ResearchBlogging.org Han and Jablonski. “Female genetalia concealment promotes intimate male courtship in a water strider” PLoS ONE, 2009.

Continue reading

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