Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recent Findings: Genital Reversal in the Cave-dwelling Neotrogla Family

 Recent studies on the Brazilian cave-dwelling insect Neotrogla family have revealed that the genitals of the insects are reversed - the females have penis-like structures and the males inversely have vagina-like ones.  Both are functioning reproductive organs, they just function in an unusual way - specifically, the female uses her penis-like structure to extract semen and nutrients from the male's vaginal-like orifice. This case is the first reported discovery of this phenomenon - such a discovery could be useful to entomologists and gender science as well in terms of how it raises questions about how a male and female are typically defined. For more information about the reproductive process of this extremely unusual species check out these two articles (Insect Changes Gender to Mate with Partner and Female Penis, Male Vagina: First Case of Genital Reversal in Nature Reported).

~Emma Sims