Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Scorpion Flies

In the case of brawn vs. brains, female scorpion flies don't care much for either. The ladies choose their mates based on saliva-secretion ability, wooed by spit and spit alone. In an effort to please, the male scorpion fly will hack up a dripping, nutritious nuptial gift for his sweetheart, with the help of enlarged salivary glands. The dribble draws her in and distracts her — both from flying off in a fit of cold feet and from eating the male postintercourse. Both sexes are promiscuous; the female copulates with up to nine different fellows in her lifetime. A pair of claspers at the tip of the male's long, curled tail — like that of a scorpion, but without the sting — helps him do the deed. In typical female fashion, once the female scorpion fly stops receiving soggy presents, she puts an end to sexual relations. In typical male fashion, the dude will gather up the leftovers and, like pawning off a half-eaten box of candy, reuse them to romance new conquests. Some behaviors succeed across species.