fluffers and backflips


Scienceblogs.com has a great article about the bean weevil’s spikey penis. Two scientists have been investigating the evolutionary role these spikes play…


The genitals of different beetle populations are very varied and to study them under a microscope, Hotzy and Arnqvist first had to fluff their subjects. They anaesthetised the males with carbon dioxide, and erected their penises with an “artificial inflater” – a microscopic plastic tip connected to a pump.

Spikes are all very well but it’s the idea of an insect penis pump that I find most intriguing. Further research reveals that the phalloblaster which pumps pressurized alcohol into moth and beetle genitalia was invented several years ago by Australians. 

We Aussies seem to spend a lot of time reading and writing about alcohol, wildlife and strange sexual habits. Lizards rate a mention at the ABC Science blog. 


“When Lake Eyre lizards copulate the male bites the female’s neck, climbs on top of her, wraps his tail around hers and inserts one of his two penises. This can be hazardous to the health of the female because when the males bite them on the neck this can pierce the female’s spine and result in death.

Therefore once the female’s eggs have been fertilised, she will try to avoid mating. You get this runaway process where males evolve elaborate ways of trying to gain matings and females evolve elaborate ways of avoiding them.


f this doesn’t work, they throw themselves on their backs and reveal their bright orange underside. But what could be the evolutionary benefit to females of spending time on their back?


leave your theory in the comments section 🙂

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 8:36 am  Comments (25)  

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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wee Nursie.

    You’ve really outdone yourself with these pics today. I salute you.

    Thanks for stopping by DüE. My apologies for being a slack (or perhaps even rude) commenter at the Gimcrack of late. I’ve had shit on my liver.

    Love you madly.

  2. “shit on your liver”? should I be worried about you?

  3. Now I’m embarrassed – I posted about these lizards but I just cut and pasted a news article. You went and did all sorts of interesting research and found wonderful stuff. I was wondering about the record player you found and if she was a 33 1/3 or a 45. Then I realised she is one of those rare record players which play at 69.

  4. evolutionary benefits to spending more time on our backs? reduced odds of being hit by a truck (so long as we’re indoors), more time to watch tv and learn about better child rearing techiques (shows such as The Simpson’s and Family Guy worked well for me) and letting gravity work — by keeping our eggies nice and save in their little ovarian nests until the proper studboy appears at the foot of the bed!

  5. Did you just make me look at a super sized beetle penis? Good God, I just got the giant blue penis out of my mind.

  6. Ribbed for her pleasure.

    • (In the words of Wayne’s World)


  7. Two fluffed penises? Bush and Blair for sure.

  8. Hey, how come lizards get two penises? I thought we were at the top of the pyramid?

  9. Thank goodness that is a bean weevils penis coz I doubt even a strong dose of antibiotics would sort that affliction out !!!

  10. I met a girl once who flipped on her back and flashed her orange belly (German tanning salon addict), which successfully prevented any chance of copulation / fertilisation. I’m not sure what the evolutionary advantage of this was, but I do feel like I managed to escape one of life’s cul-de-sacs.

    • I’m very relieved for you Mr Som

  11. TWO penises? Shouldn’t that be peni? No, I’ll stick to one, it’s difficult enough to type with one hand as it is now.

    • I’m delighted you’ve turned from a lurker to a comment-maker Eric

  12. NOW I remember . . .

    • ummm… remember what exactly Gryph?

      • I forget. *blush*

  13. Hmm… aside from the wrapping the tail around the female and having two penises parts, these Lake Eyre Lizards seem to know my lovemaking style.

    Five ways babes say no… and none of them involve reading a book in lingerie and heels while elevating your legs on a beach ball.

  14. Microscopic hand jobs in the name of science.

  15. In my sad Pollyanna world a fluffer is someone who helps you sell your house. They bake bread to make it smell nice (Fluffer Psychology 101) and suggest cleaning tips (Fluffer Cleaning Tips 101).

    Clearly I need to get out of my fluffed house more…

  16. I’m scarred from that Beetle dick. So you know, thanks a lot, jerkface.

  17. I think she’s laying on her back to play dead. I’m curious as to how much money went into developing these insect penis pumps.

  18. As a biologist I usually find evolutionary biology and sexual selection quite interesting, but I am still looking at the ‘record player.’ Your back in top form NM.

  19. The lady record-balancer… those are the types of 45s with the Really Big Holes, right? Like they need that big hole to work in Juke boxes or something, right?

    Otherwise, i don’t think most ladies’ nippleses would fit through the little holes.

    I’ve just checked, though, and the hole in the middle of a CD/DVD looks about the right size. I wonder how i’d explain to Princess that i just want to try to balance a pair of DVDs on her nipples…

  20. Those stereo record players were a great advancement – I believe it was the boombox that came next …….

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