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Does the European Earwig really have multiple penises?


4112 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
Yes. The European variety of earwig, Forficula auricularia, has two penises tucked inside its abdomen. How do we know this? If you're sensitive about these things quit reading now.

During a study of mating habits by the Tokyo Metropolitan University scientists tried to separate a mating pair of earwigs. When they did this the penis broke off but the insect was still able to mate. A new study was done on earwigs in the wild.* They found that females often had bits of broken penis inside of them.

Why would this happen? It's believed this prevents other males from mating with the female increasing the chance that the original mate will produce offspring. While the earwig is the only insect we know of that does this, it's a common mating strategy for spiders and crustaceans.

*Despite its name, the European Earwig is found in Asia and the Americas as well as Europe. The ones studied were captured around Tokyo.

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