Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Direct Benefit to Homosexual Behavior in Male Flour Beetles

Homosexual behavior is found among many animals such as primates, penguins, insects, and lizards. At first these types of behaviors were looked at as a waste of time that could possibly make sense in a social dominance aspect, or possibly as a form of practicing the act before encountering an actual female. However, similar to the all female species of whiptail lizards we learned about in class, flour beetles actually get a reproductive benefit from the behavior.

Evolutionary ecologist Sara Lewis lead a group of curious scientists to find out the real reason of why the beetles behaved this way. The experiment entailed observing individuals and their sexual behaviors and monitoring the paternity of the offspring within the group observed. The results were so surprising that after performing the experiment over and over were they convinced of what they found. It turns out that by mating with other males, they skip the process of going out and finding a female to mate with in order to pass their genes on. By mating with any beetle, male or female they have a chance of passing on their genes either way, so it leaves less pressure in finding a female.

How do they do this? If a male beetle (we'll call beetle A) leaks its semen onto another male beetle while mating with it (beetle B), then beetle B goes and mates with a female, the female could actually get fertilized by beetle A's sperm instead of by beetle B's! Therefore it really doesn't matter whether a beetle mates with a male or a female to pass on it's genes in some cases.

Post by: Ashley Maillet

Click here to read the full article


At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, very interesting article. I'm curious as to whether any other beetles or insects have a behavior similar to this. Who would of thought that something like that would be a possible way of passing on your genes. I wonder why the second beetle however allows the first beetle to mate with it since it may be lowing his chances to produce offspring, if the first beetle sperm could end up reaching the female beetle first. Do the male beetles just kind of go around and mate with whoever they see first in hopes their genes will some how be passed on.

Katie Cole

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone posted about this one last week.

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting idea. I was surprised to see a benefit to the homosexual behaviour in regards to producing more offspring. I geuss it makes sence though that a beetle might not have to search for a female, especially if the populaton is spread out. Is this the case? do you think the behaviour would change/become less likey if there were lots of easily found females?

Erica Damon

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, that is quite interesting, thought I am still a little lost as to how the sperm of Beetle A fertilizes the female rather then Beetle B? Do you know if there is any time limit on how long the sperm of Beetle A stays in Beetle B because doesn’t sperm dry up rather quickly? Though it does make sense that there is less pressure to find a female if fertilization is this easy. Very interesting article.

Tenzing Y. Dundutsang

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is ToTaLLy Awesome! I wanted to remind you to put in week number (9) after your name so you don't get points taken out. So if the male beetle B fertilizes another male, and male beetle C fertilizes a female, can the eggs that are fertilized be of seamon A, B, and C, or just one, or B and C?

Ada Marie Flores


Post a Comment

<< Home