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

PHOTOS: ''Torture'' Phalluses Give Beetles Breeding Boost
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To obtain close-up views of seed beetles' spiny male genitalia (above, hooks, spines, and barbs in C. rhodesianus), scientists first put the insect under carbon dioxide anesthesia.

The scientists then pumped up the sexual organ with a tiny artificial inflator powered by a water-jet vacuum pump.

Once fully inflated, the genitalia were stabilized in 212-degree-Fahrenheit (100-degree-Celsius) water and photographed.

Beetles with the longest and spiniest sexual organs were most successful at spreading their genes, a study to be published in March 2009 found.

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— Photograph courtesy Johanna L. Ronn/Uppsala University
 
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