In a weird world where male is female and female is male

Image Credit: The Verge

A weird insect species where a female has a penis and a male as a vagina

Image Credit: The Verge
Image Credit: The Verge

A new species of Brazilian insects from Peruaçu River Valley has been discovered by Scientists — in a twist from the normal — the females possess a penis and the males possess a vagina. According to announcement, made yesterday  in the journal Current Biology, we now witness the first biological freak of nature in the animal kingdom that is now known as “the female penis”.

The female in these species of insect produces the largest gametes

When a new human baby is born, its common practice to check it’s sex organs to determine it’s gender but contrary to popular belief, this species is different. In fact, biologists don’t use sex chromosomes either. They use the size of an animal’s gametes — sperm in males and oocytes in females. As the rule goes, females are the sex that contribute the largest gametes, whereas males are the sex that contribute the smallest gametes and therefore expend the least amount of energy on producing these cells. So, in this particular instance of sex-role reversal, the convention still applies: the female in these species of insect produces the largest gametes — egg cells. She simply also happens to sport a penis that she introduces into the male’s vagina during copulation.

According to an email to the verge from Yoshizawa Kazunori, an entomologist at Japan’s Hokkaido University and co-author of the study,

The female penis is a completely novel structure Except for producing the larger gametes and having an egg-laying apparatus, the females in these four species of winged insects, called Neotrogla, seem to have become “very masculine” over evolutionary time, Kazunori added. The appearance of such a novel structure is exceptionally rare, he said, and “may be comparable with the origin of insect wings.

Role Reversal Abstract (Image Credit: science-direct)
Role Reversal Abstract (Image Credit: science-direct)

A 70 hour mating period

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While some humans can’t even last a minute, researchers have discovered that these cave-dwelling insects can last for an impressive 40 to 70 hours, thanks to the female’s blow-up, thorny penis that anchors itself to the male’s internal tissues. Its in this period that, the female gathers large quantities of sperm that she uses to fertilize her eggs. Yoshizawa continues to say that:

“Because the female’s anchoring force is very strong, a male’s resistance may cause damage to his genitalia, therefore, it is very likely that entire mating processes are controlled actively by females, whereas males are rather passive.”

The mystery is to find out how the female penis occurred so researchers are now collecting genomic data to compare these insects to other, closely related species.


  • kevin

    70 hours mating? thats wow too long tho