If I Had To Learn This Horrific Bedbug Penis Fact, You Do Too

Warming: this is genuinely grim.
picture alliance via Getty Images

We’ve written before at HuffPost UK about how alligator penises are constantly erect (yes, really).

So, in an ill-fated moment of gential curiosity, I thought I’d see for myself what other inner peace-ruining wild animal facts there were out there ― and found out that the already-horrifying bedbugs have a suitably disturbing anatomy.

The male bed bug, it turns out, has a needle-sharp member that stabs the female rather then entering her through sexual intercourse.

It’s called a “traumatic insemination” ― yep, that makes sense, really.

HOW and WHY?

“Amorous males wield needle-like penises and mate by stabbing them in the midsection,” Science reads.

“A groove on the female abdominal armour directs the penis and the ejaculate lands in a sack of cells just under her skin.”

Rather than depositing the sperm directly into the females’ (perfectly functional) reproductive tract, the bed bug’s penis instead creates a wound with which the male copulates.

From there, the “horrifying syringe-like penis” deposits sperm which makes its way to the ovaries.

As for why ― well, it’s cold evolution, experts say. While the lady bed bug might be injured during the act, which could reduce the number of kids, male bed bugs’ biology seems to reason that skipping over competitive mating and partner selection rituals is worth it.

...That all?

Of course not.

Michael T. Siva-Jothy and Alistair D. Stutt from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield looked into the phenomenon and found that male bed bugs ejaculated less into female bedbugs that had recently mated with another male than they did into one who hadn’t.

They deduced that the bugs had sperm-detecting chemorecepotors on their penis that might take the form of little hairs.

So, in case you didn’t hate bed bugs enough, their sword penises with semen-detecting hairs on ’em might tip you over the edge. Lovely.