It was the Bug of the Bulge.
Colombian scientists learned the true meaning of “big things come in small packages” after identifying a species of beetle that exhibits “unique genitalia” — a supernaturally large penis.
A study describing the well-endowed insect was recently published by the “Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Biological Resource Research‘ in Bogota.
“The details of the genitals [were] the key to this discovery,” Jhon César Neita, the curator of the institute’s entomology and invertebrate collections involved in the study, told Jam Press.
The hanging beetle, dubbed Aegidinus Elbae, was first discovered in 2000 in Chiribiquete National Park – the largest tropical rainforest national park in the world.
Members of the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Group chanced upon the show-off scarab while collecting samples from various biological groups distributed throughout the forest.
The insect specimens were then taken to the Entomological Collection of the Humboldt Institute in Villa de Leyva. They stayed there for decades until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, after which Neita and his team of researchers arrived to analyze them.
“When I arrived at the Humboldt-Institut, I reviewed the material that had been received, identified what might be new to science and started studying this material,” said the scientist. “One of the beetles we had to analyze belonged to the genus Aegidinus, which had also been collected on this expedition.”
Three years later, in June, researchers finally identified the insect as a new species.
The scientist found the beetle unique in that its “genitals do not resemble those of any other individual of the genus” as it is “very large and developed,” according to the study.
The invertebrate’s extensive phallus is not only massive, but also supports the “lock and key theory” in insect biology, which explains that for every male genital organ there is a corresponding genital organ that perfectly fits.
Unfortunately, scientists have yet to discover a female of this species — who may or may not have an oversized orifice.
Still, the results suggest reproductive isolation is evident — meaning they don’t breed among the same species, according to the study.
However, an unusually large penis isn’t the only unique feature of this creepy crawler.
Neita found that this beetle has a smooth facial structure, unlike other members of the genus, which have rough faces.
“It [the discovery] In this way, we can contribute the greatest possible knowledge about the biodiversity of the country,” said the scientist, summarizing the significance of the find. “It is also a great achievement for me as a researcher, because such findings show us once again that science always offers us something new.”
This entomological Jonas hawk in particular proves that there is still more diversity to be documented in the beetles, which represent the largest group of organisms in nature.
“It’s like a Pandora’s box that brings surprises every time it’s opened, revealing the mysteries of the country’s insect biodiversity,” enthused Neita. “There is still a lot to discover in Chiribiquete because, as a region that connects the Amazon and the Orinoquía, it offers us many elements of the biodiversity of ancient America that we must continue to discover.”