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Does Loud Bug Sex Attract Predators?

May 18th, 2016

Does Loud Bug Sex Attract Predators?

The question posed above has NOT been baffling philosophers and scientists for ages, but we still want to know the answer.  And the answer is yes, according to researchers in Germany.  Well at least when it comes to flies.

These German researchers, who clearly had too much time on their hands, noticed that when flies are alone they will emit very low frequency sounds with the fluttering of their wings.  But this sound is so quiet that normal echoes produced from the environment will drown out the sound of the flies rapidly moving wings.  However, when the flies were mating the females would spread their wings in such a way that it emitted sounds loud enough to catch the attention of certain bats.  When the flies in the study mated over half of them were eventually consumed by bats, while the lonelier sexless flies remained relatively safe from bat attacks.

This study helps to confirm an idea scientists have hypothesized for some time.  This idea being that perhaps many animals attract predators when mating, and the chance of being attacked by predators during sex probably goes up the more loud and intense the female orgasms are.  Well, the first part about the danger facing flies mating has been genuinely hypothesized anyway.  So apparently sex can be dangerous for animals as well as for humans.  We have to worry about STDs, but that is far less unpleasant than being eaten by a bat.

Why do you think insects even take the chance of making so much noise during sex that they would attract predators? Do you think this is something they can’t control or could they possibly change that?

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