Posted by: r.m. | November 10, 2010

taking reproduction quite seriously – leave it to the insects

The animal kingdom has gained a new record holder after scientists declared a species of cricket to possess the largest known testes of any creature in relation to its body mass.

Delicate measurements of the tuberous bush cricket, Platycleis affinis, showed that its testes accounted for 14% of the insect’s body weight. If the same proportion were applied to a man, his testicles would weigh the equivalent of six bags of sugar each.

Scientist at the universities of Cambridge and Derby examined the testes of 21 species of bush cricket as part of an investigation into the evolutionary consequences of the insects’ sexual habits.

“These really are quite phenomenal testes. They take up nearly the whole of the bush cricket’s abdomen. It just shows how competitive reproduction is for some species. If you can’t spread your genes, that’s it in terms of evolution,” said Dr Karim Vehad, a behavioural ecologist at Derby, who led the study.


Responses

  1. Again we discover a specific strategy in the creatures (here the tuberous bush cricket) that allow them to evolve and pass their genes from generation to generation. I think that either if the larger testes of the tuberous bush cricket allow them to flood females with more sperm or if it allow them to mate repeatedly without their sperm reserves being exhausted (as this study shows) this is very important because in the first case it allow the males to compete with each other for their multiple mating females and in the second case it allow the same male to have more reserve to mate with many females.


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