The World’s First Transgender Insects

Henrik Larsson /
Henrik Larsson /

They are the size of fleas. They live in caves. They feed on bat shit. They can fuck for three days straight. And they may represent the vanguard of gender equality and gender fluidity in the animal kingdom.

Say “hi, y’all” to the humble and sex-crazed Neotrogla, a breed of lice where the boys have vaginas and the girls have penises. If you feel you have the stomach for it, go ahead and take a gander at the “penis like organ” HERE, although I still can’t figure out where the penis ends and the lady Neotrogla begins. Frankly, I’m sorry I ever looked at that picture in the first place.

Granted, these horny, shit-caked insects aren’t “transgender” in the sense that they didn’t undergo $90,000 worth of genital-reassignment surgery and won’t be forced to jab hormones into their wrists for the rest of their lives, so I will defer to the transgender community as to which precise and insanely nitpicky term is applicable to these bugs and their bugged-out genitals and gender roles.

What’s important is that these crazy, fun-luvvin’, gender-bendin’ lice have been living harmoniously together in caves, eating bat shit, and swapping genitals since before the dawn of history, but they recently grabbed the spotlight with the publication of “Female Penis, Male Vagina, and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect” in the journal Current Biology. In what is possibly the most pornographic passage I’ve ever read in my life, the study says:

Females have a highly elaborate, penis-like structure, the gynosome, while males lack an intromittent organ. The gynosome has species-specific elaborations, such as numerous spines that fit species-specific pouches in the simple male genital chamber. During prolonged copulation (∼40–70 hr), a large and potentially nutritious ejaculate is transferred from the male via the gynosome.

Whoa—spiny female protuberances fitting into pouches “in the simple male genital chamber”—kinky! Another article with the entirely empowered headline “Females in Charge” says that this species boasts “aggressive, promiscuous females and males who tend to be choosier about whom they mate with.” That sounds simultaneously degrading, liberating, and haawt as hell!

A shockingly candid photo for National Geographic magazine shows a pair of Neotrogla in mid-fuck, and yep, the woman is on top, riding him hard and ready to put him away wet! Good work there, Rosie the Riveter!

As a cisgender human male, I feel it is important to discuss transgenderism in the insect community. Across the dark, exotic caves of Brazil, these Lady Lice and their elaborate penis-like structures are simultaneously smashing the patriarchy and crushing its ass. They serve as a humble reminder that all social-justice movements start underground—in this case, literally. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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