Traumatic insemination

Traumatic insemination is the mating practice of a few species of insects wherein the male pierces the female's abdomen with his genitals and injects his sperm through the wound into her abdominal cavity. The most widely recorded example is that of Cimex lectularius, the bed bug.


It is believed the practice of traumatic insemination may have evolved as a means for males to circumvent female mating resistance . In response to the costs of traumatic insemination, the females of many species have developed various forms of paragenitalia at the site of copulation, separate from the genital tract. This system reduces the trauma by providing a guide for the male's genitals which leads to the mesospermalege, from which the sperm migrate to the ovaries. The genital tract remains the means which the female lays fertilized eggs.


The practice of traumatic insemination is believed to be advantageous to the reproductive success of the male while at the same time imposing a cost on females which results in reduced lifespan and reproductive output. The successive woundings each require energy to heal, leaving less energy available for other activities. Also, the wounds provide a possible point of infection, further reducing female lifespan.

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