Male Water Striders Blackmail Females Into Mating

You would think mating in the insect world would be pretty straightforward, free of the kind of trickery and treachery sometimes seen in the human world. However, you don’t need to search out a soap opera to find sex, lies, and treachery. The male water strider is on par with even the worst soap opera villains.

Water striders use their legs to detect the vibrations of prey, predators, and mates. But they can also use these legs to create vibrations to attract attention by tapping the surface of the water. When water striders mate, the male water striders will find a female and mount her without bothering with any kind of courtship rituals or foreplay. To get the females to acquiesce, the males will often start tapping the water to create vibrations that will attract predators. This is a pretty effective way of getting her to stop struggling, as the females position underneath the male means that she will get the brunt of the attack from a predator. The male water strider essentially blackmails the females into mating with them. These guys are the quintessential jerks of the insect world. If these were humans, the police would be all over that behavior.

Are you surprised to find this kind of cruel behavior in the seemingly simplistic insect world?

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