Do Box Elder Beetles Use Sex Toys? – Part 2

While on a bug hunt with my son a couple of weeks ago, I ran across an interesting phenomenon (documented here) involving box elder beetles and what appeared to be their proclivity to use sex furniture while mating.  This past weekend, I was able to document more cases  of this bizarre activity and made a couple of other observations.

The seed is difficult to make out because of the light, but if you look closely, you can see the female's proboscis going into the seed.

Last time, I hypothesized that perhaps the females were eating while they’re getting it on.  But I could find no evidence of this multitasking.  This time, both instances I captured would seem to indicate otherwise.  This indifference doesn’t seem to phase the males.  In every case, it is the female perched upon the seed.

She seems to be popular.

Just a few feet away from the couple above, I witnessed this box elder clusterf#*k.  This time, one of the males appears to be more interested in the food, while the other was more interested in the lady.  In this blurry photo, not so awesomely captured on my iPhone, it is easier to see the female’s proboscis.

Further proof that the male box elders are not too picky.

And then I ran across this disturbing little tableau.  The female box elder beetle was caught in a spider web and died.  I checked her status by poking her with a stick.  The male seemed completely unphased by his partner’s lack of life and was, in fact, not happy that I was disturbing his private moment, ducking back and forth on that blade of grass.  Certainly he won’t be happy when he finds out his escapades were posted on the internets.

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