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Posts Tagged ‘insects’

Humans are an interesting lot. After all, the human is the only being capable of consciously controlling its number of offspring. So therefore, humans can be logically divided into two camps: breeders and non-breeders. Breeders seem to regard non-breeders as selfish egotists, and non-breeders seem to regard breeders as self-righteous asshats, but no judgment is intended toward either camp here. The simple fact is that breeders have babies and non-breeders don’t.

Other species don’t have the luxury of choosing whether they want to be breeders or non-breeders. In fact, the sole purpose of many species seems to be reproduction. So much so, that they often die during or immediately after mating. This seems to be especially prevalent in the insect world. And even worse, it seems to be the males that get the horrible-death end of that stick. And often by cannibalistic means. But they don’t seem to care. They will spend their entire short existence trying to woo their female counterparts, only to have their genitals explode or their heads eaten off when she finally decides to put out:

The redback [male spider] actively seeks his own doom, positioning himself above the female’s jaws (chelicerae) during copulation so that he can readily be devoured by the female.

Although some male [praying mantises] do escape unscathed [after mating], many are seized by the female and are dismantled and eaten organ-by-organ, often head first.

The entire sex act [of the Drone Bee] takes place during flight… His explosive ejaculation ruptures his everted penis… [he] dies within minutes after his violent eruption of semen and literally falls from the sky.

So from these terrible tales, we can theorize that since insects can’t control their instinct to reproduce — even if it will kill them in the process — then their sole reason for existence must be to keep their species alive through propogation. But for what purpose? Why do they even need to exist as a species in the first place? Perhaps they exist only to fulfill their role within a much larger ecosystemic food-chain sort of way, or maybe the desire to exist alone is enough to motivate a species. Who knows.

But the very fact that humans can choose whether or not to reproduce could be interpreted to imply that we have a greater purpose on this planet than just existing as a species. And so let’s give it up for the creatures that don’t have that luxury; for even though sex may kill them, it also keeps our little planetary ecosystem churning, as generation upon generation of reproducing insects wait patiently as we humans try to figure out why we are here and what the hell we are supposed to do with ourselves. It’s all for the greater, unknown good.

Or maybe not. Maybe that’s moral relativism. And maybe it’s all random and meaningless and there’s no point or purpose to anything. Even if you insist on taking that pessimistic view point, then at least you have to appreciate the fact that you get to have sex without getting your head eaten off or having genitals explode inside of you. Usually.

If Only They Had the Choice

Insects that die for sex are effing awesome.


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