Researchers have found that, for male seed beetles with “torture phalluses”, the longer and spinier the better. The “pretty mean” genital is covered in spines along its entire length and causes internal injury to the female beetles, who — not too surprisingly — are built with thick padding to withstand mating. (To get these pics of the toothy, horny beetle genitalia, the scientists pumped them up with a vacuum pump — just like Austin Powers!)

Also in today’s links: many more oddities of the animal kingdom.

  • Scientists have found the only fish known to have eyes that face forward (like humans’ eyes). It’s also gelatinous, stripey, and has a mouth like Beaker the Muppet. Yep, pretty darn cute. (Be sure to watch the video.)
  • Now this is a fish tale about a fish with a mighty tail. A biologist in Thailand nabbed the biggest freshwater fish caught with a rod, a giant stingray seven feet wide and seven feet long, with a ten-foot sting.
  • How do you screw with a crocodile? Tape magnets to its head. That screws up their sense of direction, and hopefully keeps them from returning to the residential neighborhood they decided was “home.”
  • How did sex as we know it originate? A fossil showing a fish that had an umbilical cord and other indicators suggest it was more common in early jawed vertebrates than had been recognized.