reproduction

Rethinking Genitalia

Rethinking Genitalia: We're a culture obsessed with human bodies, gender and the morphological differences between male and female. But what happens when we consider gender reversal in nature, as well as the amazing sex-reversed cave insects of the Neotrogla genus? The females of these species boast a penis-like, sperm-collecting "gynosome," which fits perfectly inside the male's sperm-offering "phallosome." Listen to this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and turn everything you know about gender on its head.

My Slimey Valentine: Slug Sex Revisited

Slug Sex: Whether you're a hopeless romantic or a Valentine's hater, Robert and Julie have quite the episode for you. Prepare to have your mind blown as they expose the daring, disgusting, weaponized, cannibalistic and marathon lovemaking ways of slugs and snails. Originally published in 2013, the episode is now updated with a new page from the slug Kama Sutra that will leave you squirming. Be sure to explore this accompanying mini-gallery for maximum terror. Image Credit: "Slug Sex" by Erica Nelson, woodcut, available for purchase at her MadeOfMarrow Etsy Shop.

Internet users know what they want and today, when they're not searching for info on celebrities and magazines about celebrities, they're doing Internet searches for "ovipositors." What's an ovipositor? The simple answer is that it's an egg-laying organ generally located on the tail end of an insect's abdomen. But ovipositors are far more than mere insect reproductive organs. Ovipositors have evolved to keep pace with the needs of their owners to place eggs in ever-more-secure or beneficial locations. For this reason, cicadas and grasshoppers developed spiked ovipositors to better deposit their young in the ground or in the stems of plants. Wasps took this concept even further, as their ovipositors are tailor-made to pierce the carapaces of other living creatures, thus laying their precious offspring inside their first meal. They even evolved to offer a venomous punch, so as to subdue their victim for this brutal surgery.