Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Mating Life of Bugs

Not all bugs, just some bugs.

I recently went to the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley, California to listen to a lecture on archaeological discoveries. I arrived to learn the speaker had taken ill and that lecture was postponed. The substitute lecture was on the sex life of bugs. It was fascinating!

Here are a few of the tidbits I picked up. I hope I don't get anything wrong.

Female aphids give birth to females as soon as they're born, and those females give birth to females as soon as they are born. Males are born in the fall. Ants are friends of aphids. They treat them as cattle, herding them and caring for them, because the aphids secrete "honey dew" which the ants love. This is also the aphid's urine. Ladybugs (whose real name is lady bird beetle) are the aphid's enemy. The larva of ladybugs love to much on aphids.

Males are drawn to a female by the pheromones the female gives out. After the male mates he goes on to mate again. The female mates once and dies.

Wasps are the cicada's enemy. Wasps are carnivores. Bees are vegetarian.

Damsel fly:
Male has what looks like a spiky ball on the end of his penis. He uses this to remove any previous sperm in the female before he mates with her.

Dung beetle:
Both make the dung balls for their young. Very devoted parents, especially the female. She would rather eat her young than leave them.

Praying mantis:
They eat everything smaller than they are, which is why the male must approach the female very cautiously. Once he makes contact the female bites his head off. This must happen in order for the male to ejaculate.

Honey bee:
A good queen lasts about a year. Life span of a worker is six weeks. Drones come from fertilized eggs. Workers come from unfertilized eggs. A normal hive sleeps during winter. The drones are kicked out of the hive at this time. When it's time for a new queen, a female is hatched and swarms with the drones (also hatched since all the others died). How many times she mates with drones will determine her worth as queen. If she doesn't measure up she is killed and a new queen is hatched. Queen's only job is to lay eggs. Swarms aren't aggressive. They are focused on mating with the potential queen.

Two flies plus two piles of manure equal 8,000 files. Maggots are used to clean out wounds since they eat decaying flesh.

Blister beetle:
They don't blister when they are eaten. They blister inside the body. Larva jump on bee when one lands nearby.

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