from the specimen drawer

from the specimen drawer

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weird Invertebrate Sex Moves

This is a new category. Basically, all the weird bits that don't go under any of the other categories.

So, I like to write down certain scientific terms that I come across that I've either never heard before or that I think are funny. They are just words that bring a little joy to my day, and hopefully to yours, too. Here's a few that I'm going to run all together in a little inverta-word stew.

Ramate Malleate Forcipate Incudate
Anal cone Ovarian balls Uterine bell Tentacular crown
Ciliated gutter Ciliary pit Germovitellaria
Lemnisci Lorica Obturaculum

I love biology.

I also love the many ways in which our invertebrate friends play "hide the gonopod". Two ways in particular that I, personally, would find extremely upsetting were they to occur amongst our species.

The first is hypodermic impregnation. Oh my god! Anybody with a penis at the ready could just come up to you and poke you anywhere on your body- your arm, your back, the side of your head- and inseminate you! It is truly a terrifying thought. But pretty great in the world of invertebrates where politeness, etiquette, and general civility don't get in the way of passing on your genes. Male flatworms and rotifers, for example, don't have to worry about the girl flatworm or rotifer saying "Oh no you didn't just stick your copulatory organ through my body wall!" and then getting smacked with, say, a baseball bat.

The second is the most appalling and TOTALLY GENIUS cement plug in the vagina. Wow, if there ever was a way to ensure that the next guy, or in this case, the next acanthocephalan (nasty little fresh water and marine parasite) didn't get his gametes in the mix- this is it. More likely, I would guess, to keep the sperm inside the female. But still... can you imagine the conversation between human partners? "Heeeeey!!! What the... ?! Did you just put a cement cap in my uterine bell?!! Get out of here you deposit feeding son-of-a-sipunculan!"

I hope this inverta-bit encouraged everyone to try new things with their special someone. (Or maybe you better not...)

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