more entertainment

since it is saturday night … an excerpt from an essay by william hamilton in “The Natural History of Inbreeding and Outbreeding” (it’s like they wrote it just for me!) [pg. 430]:

“The button beetle [Coccotrypes dactyliperda] is even more of an inbreeder. It not only rests its system on a firm foundation of brother-sister incest, like the ant, but continues to other crimes, at least in the case in which a female happens not to have been fertilized by her brother. On reaching a button of vegetable ivory (made from the seeds of the palm Phytelephas) or, probably more commonly in nature, a date stone, such a virgin first excavates a chamber and then, inside, uses parthenogenesis to produce a brood of four or five males. After a wait for the first male to mature she mates with him, eats him except for the hard thorax and head, eats the other sons similarly, and finally proceeds to further enlargement of the chamber and the laying of eggs for her main brood. This consists of about seventy females sired by the first son and about three more males (Buchner 1961). We see at once that small virgin colonizing arthropods such as Pharaoh’s ant and the button beetle are much more keen to start breeding somehow, come what may, than are horned scarabs or female academics at the opposite extreme of K-selection….”

heh. (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. C. dactyliperda.)