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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