Bed Bug Sperm Protected from STDs

Scientists have discovered that the ejaculate of male bed bugs contains anti-microbial agents that protect sperm against sexually transmitted bacteria, according to this BBC story. And female bedbugs have their own germ-protection system. For starters, they don’t let a penis near their vagina; to mate, a male stabs a female’s belly with his penis. The female has a special structure in her belly, which guides the penis to a mass of germ-fighting cells, and the sperm are released into her bloodstream, where they find their way to her ovaries.

“Wounding is a very frequent event during and after copulation, and generally genitals are not that clean, ” says¬†evolutionary biologist Oliver Otti from the University of Sheffield, UK. He points out that¬†in the bed bug world, feeding is generally always followed by mating.

These pests are apparently useful models of human immunology — but behavior, who knew?

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