Menu

Image of the Day: Teeth

Once mated, female cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) use their "vagina dentata" to rip through the hard encasing of a male’s ejaculated spermatophore. 

Jul 3, 2017
The Scientist Staff

This jaw-like structure, called a signum, is complete with rows of “teeth” and sits within the reproductive organs of female Pieris rapae.

NATHAN MOREHOUSE

  Female cabbage white butterflies house "teeth" within their reproductive organs that they use to break down males' sturdy ejaculate. “[T]he indigestible outer envelope of the spermatophore delays female remating, allowing males to monopolize paternity for longer,” the authors write in a report published in PNAS that describes the spermatophore's involved structure and the shrewd mechanisms female butterflies use to devour it.

According to The Atlantic, the scientists were only able to get through the spermatophores’ tough layers by “boiling them in concentrated sulphuric acid.” In lieu of acid, females chomp away using their, erm, teeth.

See C. Meslin et al., “Structural complexity and molecular heterogeneity of a butterfly ejaculate reflect a complex history of selection,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1707680114, 2017.

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.

DefiniGEN licenses CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology from Broad Institute to develop cell models for optimized metabolic disease drug development

DefiniGEN licenses CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology from Broad Institute to develop cell models for optimized metabolic disease drug development

DefiniGEN Ltd are pleased to announce the commercial licensing of CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology from Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in the USA, to develop human cell disease models to support preclinical metabolic disease therapeutic programmes.