Insects Are Not Gay, Just Confused

Apparently, up to 85 percent of many insects have same-sex sex. Gay sex, threesomes, you name insects really are incredibly liberal. Or so we thought. From Science Daily:

Dr. Inon Scharf of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Zoology and Dr. Oliver Martin of ETH Zurich have found that homosexual behavior in bugs is probably accidental in most cases. In the rush to produce offspring, bugs do not take much time to inspect their mates’ gender, potentially leading to same-sex mating. The study, a comprehensive review of research on insects and spiders, was published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

In the insect world, getting there first really does count most, and insects and spiders just don’t have many social hangups about getting the wrong sex by accident:

“Insects and spiders mate quick and dirty,” Dr. Scharf observes. “The cost of taking the time to identify the gender of mates or the cost of hesitation appears to be greater than the cost of making some mistakes.” … Almost 80 percent of the cases of homosexual behavior appeared to be the result of misidentification or belated identification of gender. In some cases, males carry around the scents of females they have just mated with, sending confusing signals to other males. In other cases, males and females look so similar to one another that males cannot tell if potential mates are female until after they have mounted them.

And apparently, there may be evolutionary benefits to the behavior:

“Homosexual behavior may be genomically linked to being more active, a better forager, or a better competitor,” says Dr. Schart. “So even though misidentifying mates isn’t a desirable trait, it’s part of a package of traits that leaves the insect better adapted overall.”

Perhaps scientist should study whether there are evolutionary advantages to booking vacations to Bangkok, getting hammered and going to strip clubs in the redlight district….

(very NSFW):

(h/t the Dish)

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.