Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Soapberry Bugs

A single soapberry female is a rare find, and the male goes to extremes to lock down his special lady friend. When mating, soapberry bugs resemble twins connected at the rear — and they can stay that way for up to 11 days. Though the physical connection may seem romantic, like an insect equivalent of holding hands, this is actually a form of mate guarding. By prolonging copulation, the guarder's genitalia act as a plug that prevents other males from inseminating that female. In some cases, mated soapberry bugs are stuck together until it is time for the female to lay her eggs. The jealous male will temporarily withdraw his genitalia from hers, but he is never far from her side. Recopulation can begin as soon as she begins to cover the eggs with soil. Some guys are just the clingy type.