Long genital spines on male wasps can save their lives

Fending off an attacker by swordplay with two genital spines turns out to be a moderately useful form of self-defense for male wasps, an unusual study shows. A mason wasp’s rear spikes may be useless when it comes to delivering sperm, but they could save his life.

Male wasps (and bees) don’t grow venom-injecting stingers. That’s female weaponry that evolved with the equipment for laying eggs. Instead, males of a mason wasp species fight against gulping tree frogs (and collecting entomologists) by deploying a pair of spines that evolved with male reproductive genital equipment at the wasp’s rear.

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