Animal behaviour: Female wētā insects have two sets of genitals and eat male ejaculate


Female short-tailed ground wētās have two sets of genitals, one to receive sperm and the other to receive extra ejaculate that they eat to survive parenting


7 April 2022

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Wētā insects on a leaf

Darryl Gwynne/University of Toronto

Females of a cricket-like insect found in New Zealand consume male ejaculate after sex to give them enough energy for the following six months of parenting, when they don’t eat. The size of the secondary genitals they use to collect ejaculate may be related to their success in mating.

Short-tailed ground wētās (Hemiandrus pallitarsis) are found on North Island in New Zealand. Darryl Gwynne at the University of Toronto in Canada has spent decades studying the insects after first observing their …

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