Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The complex sex lives of gold swift moths

December 23, 2014

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

The mating habits of the animal kingdom tend to be fairly basic and predictable, but one type of insect has tried to spice things up a bit by opting to use a variety of different mating patterns and sexual positions during its reproductive ritual.

The creature in question is the gold swift moth (Phymatopus hecta), and according to researchers from the University of Leeds’ School of Biology, it has one of the most complex sex lives in the insect world. In fact, research published last month in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society suggests that its reproductive repertoire reads like an insect version of the Kama Sutra.

“With most insects, you expect to find a fairly set mating process. In moths like this, you might see the female staying still, emitting a scent and then mating with the first male moth to arrive,” explained study author Professor John Turner. “Colleagues have commented that this is the most elaborate mating procedure known in any insect and I have certainly not observed anything to surpass it.”

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