Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Water Striders

Looks like horny humans aren't the only ones capable of playing dirty for a little nookie. A new study says the male water strider creates tiny ripples in the water that actually lure predatory fish. The male will keep tapping his legs against the water's surface until the female agrees to mate. In strider copulation, the male mounts the floating female from above, so the female is more at risk from predators since she's on the water's surface. This menacing pickup tactic, the study says, likely started after females evolved a "genital shield." This insect chastity belt means that mating happens only with female consent, but the male's high-stakes game of chicken doesn't give the female much choice. The more quickly she gives in, the less likely she'll be fish food.