The Buggery Of Bugs

Up to 85 percent of many insects have same-sex sex. Scientists trying to figure out if this is due to the same evolutionary reasons for widespread homosexual behavior across many species have decided it’s just about confusion. The dudes think other dudes are chicks – yes, all ants look alike even to ants – and they fuck anything that moves and looks fuckable:

“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.

So many Justin Biebers, so little time. But species with high rates of homosexual sex also tend to be more generally horny, with a penchant for humping beer bottles and … well, basically anything. So you can put it down to bonobo-levels of sex. Or we may not understand it fully yet:

It is also possible, however, that sexual enthusiasm in bugs is related to other evolutionarily beneficial traits, the researchers say.” 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.” To confirm their theory, the researchers plan to study the conditions that make homosexual behavior more or less likely in bugs. They also want to look more deeply into male resistance to homosexual mating.

Yeah: what about bug homophobia? At what point does the buggered bug turn around and say, “Hey, wait a minute …”?