PHOTOS: ''Torture'' Phalluses Give Beetles Breeding Boost

PHOTOS: ''Torture'' Phalluses Give Beetles Breeding Boost
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Males of the 20 to 30 seed beetle species may look identical at first blush. But under closer inspection, they have wildly divergent sexual parts (above, the male genitalia of C. subinnotatus).

Males with the spikiest and longest tend to win out when it comes to propagating their genes, says a study to be published in March 2009.

"The male copulatory organ is the single [physical] trait that evolves very rapidly across animals," said study co-author Gvran Arnqvist, an evolutionary biologist at Sweden's Uppsala University.

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— Photograph courtesy Johanna L. Rvnn/Uppsala University
 
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