Scientists Make a Nutty Discovery About Crickets

Photo: Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes / CC

Sometimes when researchers explore the array of complex and fascinating creatures on this planet, what they find has power to renew our sense of wonder about nature, and even to change the way we look at life itself -- but then again, it's not always so on the ball. Still, scientists recently uncovered a remarkable insect that has them unusually excited. What did they find, you ask? Oh, just a cricket whose testicles are unbelievably big -- that's what.According to a report from News.com, scientists in Britain made the startling find -- a tuberous bushcricket whose testicles account for over 13 percent of its body mass, a percentage greater than any other creature on Earth!

"We couldn't believe the size of these organs. They seemed to fill the entire abdomen," said ecologist Karim Vahed.

While the sheer scale of the insects' massive private parts is impressive enough, the findings actually have biologists reexamining the role such endowments play in terms of reproduction -- it's not about more getting more bang for their buck.

James Gilbert, from Cambridge University, explains:


Traditionally it has been pretty safe to assume that when females are promiscuous, males use monstrously-sized testicles to deliver huge amounts of sperm to swamp the competition. Our study shows that we have to rethink this assumption. It looks as though the testes may be that big simply to allow males to mate repeatedly without their sperm reserves being exhausted.

The study, which is set to appear in the journal Biology Letters, may not lead to any far-reaching scientific breakthroughs or really impact your life in any way, for that matter -- but don't get testy; Sometimes it's just nice to be reminded of how spectacularly nutty nature can be.

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Tags: Animals | Biology | Evolution | Insects

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