Female mites dominated males in sex: ExpertsMarch 17th, 2011 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, March 17 (IANS) A 40-million-year-old fossil of a copulating pair of mites shows female members of the species dominated males, as opposed to the sexual behaviour in the modern age creature, American scientists have said.
The new discovery, reported in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, proves that at least some female mites were mightier than their male counterparts, according to the Global Times.
The fossil, analysed by Pavel Klimov and Ekaterina Sidorchuk of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, shows that a female mite grabbed her partner with her clingy rear end for mating, just before a blob of tree resin fell on the couple, preserving the moment for eternity.
The researchers while studying the copulating mite pair fossil, now preserved in Baltic amber, noticed traditional sex roles were reversed.
“In this species, it is the female who has partial or complete control of mating,” Klimov was quoted as saying. “This is in contrast to the present-day reproductive behaviour of many mite species where almost all aspects of copulation are controlled by males.”
However, among the mites found in present days, it is the males who coerce females to mate. The males fight off other potential suitors, and guard females before and after mating. If a partner isn’t in the mood, too bad. Male harassment of females is common.
The experts said female glaesacarus rhombeus mites, which evolved a pad-like organ on the rear end, cling to males and direct the mating process. Males of this species lacked the handy “butt grabbing” structure.
Klimov said the additional structure found in certain living mites show that not all modern female mites are subject to relentless harassment. These individuals also exert considerable control over the mating process.
“Some lineages have developed female copulatory tubes that function like a penis,” he added.
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Tags: american scientists, baltic amber, biological journal of the linnean society, copulation, female members, female mites, global times, klimov, male counterparts, michigan museum, mite species, new discovery, old fossil, present days, reproductive behaviour, sex experts, sexual behaviour, traditional sex roles, tree resin, university of michigan museum of zoology