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Cockroach Pheromones

Cockroach Pheromones, on today’s Moment of Science.

If you’ve ever felt like a looser because you haven’t got a date, this is just the post for you! Your feelings might be swayed after learning about the Tanzanian cockroach. Tanzanian female cockroaches prefer to mate with the loser males.

I’m 1000% serious. In this species of cockroaches, the males determine status by competing in intense wrestling matches. You can tell who the loser males are because they are the ones running away from the other males. What’s ironic, though, is that the females are attracted to a pheromone produced by these loser males. If the pheromone is applied to a winner male, he will instantly become a loser–meaning he will be chased by males and females alike, only the females won’t want to pummel him.

In addition, if a female gets a whiff of a loser male, but then is presented with a winner male instead, she will mate with the winner. The pheromone simply incites her to mate, and under normal circumstances, the loser male would be the nearest target. Want to hear the really strange part?

The strange part is that whether the female mates with the loser or the winner, one whiff of this pheromone and she has 12% fewer sons in the next clutch of young. Who would have thought, huh?

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