Thursday, September 29, 2011

Watch Out Aussies...

...You'll be forced to forgo your favourite beer because of some stupid male beetles that were trying to mate with beer bottles. Must have been a consequence of global warming:
"A University of Toronto professor's research about the copulation patterns of male Australian jewel beetles with "stubby" beer bottles won him an Ig Nobel Prize, a parody of the prestigious award given to researchers whose findings will first make people laugh and then think.
"Darryl Gwynne of the U of T's Mississauga campus' ecology and evolutionary biology department was heralded for his 1983 paper "Beetles on the Bottle: Male Buprestids Mistake Stubbies for Females."

"I'm honoured, I think," Gwynne said in a statement.
"The awards make people think, and they're a bit of a laugh. Really, we've been sitting here by the phone for the past 20-plus years waiting for the call. Why did it take them so long?" he asks.

Gwynne and Australian colleague David Rentz were conducting field work in Western Australia 23 years ago when they noticed something unusual along the side of the road.

"We were walking along a dirt road with the usual scattering of beer cans and bottles when we saw about six bottles with beetles on top or crawling up the side. It was clear the beetles were trying to mate with the bottles," he said.

The bottles — known as "stubbies" in Australia — resembled a "super female" jewel beetle that are big and orangey brown in colour, with a slightly dimpled surface near the bottom that reflects light in much the same way as female wings do.

Ignoring the actual female beetles, the males began mounting the beer bottles and attempted to mate with them to a perilous death — they fried under the hot sun and some were eaten by hungry ants.
Despite the humorous circumstances, Gwynne said the research had a serious message.

In this case, female beetles were ignored by the males which could impact the natural world.

"Improperly disposed of beer bottles not only present a physical and 'visual' hazard in the environment, but also could potentially cause great interference with the mating system of a beetle species," the paper said.

Gwynne also points out that the research supports the theory of sexual selection: that males, in their eagerness to mate, are the ones that make mating mistakes."
I'm sure the Darwin Principle will apply - eventually. If you can just wait it out...

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Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

Having seen it with my own eyes, I can attest that licentious female Americans from the South (don't you dare call them Yankees! :-) have been known at around closing time, to attempt to mate with Jack Daniels bourbon bottles. It's not a sight for the faint of heart! ;-)

In my youthful days, I often assisted in attempting to prevent this phenomenon, by pre-emptive collaborative consumption: a healthy shot of Jack, poured into a tumbler, filled up with fresh club soda and a fresh piece of lemon peal. "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!" :-)

September 30, 2011 6:48 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

I'm not clear on one small point. Was the "healthy shot of Jack" for you or for the "licentious female Americans"?

And although I am curious, I won't insist on an answer, as that could be embarrassing for God knows who. But what exactly was effect of the liquor - ie) what was supposed to be quicker as a result of the liquor? And did it (the liquor) actually work to achieve this goal?

Jack gets around, BTW. He's been sited and drunken reveries here in Saskatchewan for several decades now.

September 30, 2011 7:07 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

"at" drunken reveries

I'm sure my typing improves with Jack.

September 30, 2011 7:09 pm  

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