All entries for Thursday 23 March 2006

March 23, 2006

The Sex Life of the Ladybirds: Introduction

Writing about web page

Translated from Russian. See link above for original text

The widespread informal name for the ladybirds, recurrent in different variations in a number of European languages and even in Sanskrit, refers to these colourful cute creatures as “god’s calves”*. However the name presents one large misconception: despite the unquestionable cuteness and a nearly divine name, these creatures are such sexual deviants that their bare survival as a species is threatened by nothing else but the spread of STDs among the ladybirds.

In reality the sex life of the ladybirds is enviously rich. Michael Margerus** – a researcher who has just completed his 16 years long work on these insects – claims that the ladybirds can make love for 9 hours straight, experiencing several orgasms, each lasting up to 30 minutes. They also go through an average of 30 different sex partners per annum.

But such joy don’t come free. The ladybirds are suffering an STD epidemic caused by a parasite, Cocipoliphus hippodamiae, that lives under the little wings of the naughty creatures. Once they catch the STD they become sterile, which leads them straight to a demographic crisis. The ladybirds aren’t used to abstinence. The epidemic is spreading with enormous speed stretching into new areas. It has become a total disaster in Eastern Europe.

For the idle observers such facts may be of minor interest. For the biologists the problem of sexual reproduction is not just a subject of curiosity, but a lens thru which to understand and reopen the theory of evolution. Every organism is mortal; however their biological life form is potentially immortal. The purpose of life for each organism (avoiding the discussion of the meaning of life for human beings) is essentially to pass on one’s genes to the next generations. In order to perform this task with greater success, it then follows, one needs to produce as many offspring as possible, provide them with the minimum resources for their survival and finally conjoin one’s genes with genes of the most suitable partner (due to the fact that most sophisticated animals are sexual). Each biological species has a unique approach to performing those tasks. The inappropriate, ineffective approaches are abandoned during the course of natural evolution. However the staggering variety of sexual relations between individuals of different species, while successfully retaining the gene-pool of the species, remains largely unexplained for the scientists. The mating habits of the ladybirds have been studied quite profusely. At large, they resemble those of other insects, however some forms of behaviour remain unique to this breed. Below follows the description of mating behaviour reserved for the ladybirds.

*The name derives from an old belief: people used to see the red wings flapping in the air as a divine animal that belongs to God and is returning to God.

**Back translation from Майкл Марджерус. Back translation works rather poorly when it comes to transcribing people's names, so there can be a significant error in that name.

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