Science of penis-barb shaving


What a bunch of dicks!

(No, I didn’t mean it that way, I meant the other way)

(No, the other other one)


Not content with shaving the ends off the penises of our own species, now we’re out circumcising everybody!


So, bluntly, barbs make guppies better rapists.


Behind every good fish penis-barb shaving story there is a grad student reconsidering their career choice.


My fiancee is friends with the researcher, Lucia. I really hope she doesn’t get any body-mod ideas from the research…

The next BoingBoing meme: “Just look at that penis, just look at it!”


The ‘Nature: red in tooth and claw’ school couldn’t even imagine how pitifully naive their view would turn out to be. Also (along with parasitoid wasps and eyeball worms) this might be the reason why ‘natural theologians’ as a philosophical affinity group are almost entirely extinct. You don’t want to go looking for signs of god’s nature in nature, lest you find them…


You’d have to agree with P. K. Dick…

Guppies forcing themselves on one another - interesting. If guppies only had laws, police, rape centers. Now, as far as worthless science goes this is pretty up there. Myself, I wouldn’t be so quick to come down on guppies. Think about it, you’re small, you have no appendages other than fins and a barbed dick and - you have to get it on in the water, like a turbulent stream maybe. Nature gives us what we need and if she thought female guppies needed a voice to call for help she would have provided that too.


You’re sympathising with the rapey male guppies? Really? After the research found the barbs explicit purpose was for mating with only unreceptive females, and that the male guppies have no problems mating with receptive ones?
Good grief. Rape, here, is well an example of a ‘nasty natural’, but it doesn’t make it needed - as you seem to imply - much less defensible.
On that note, surely it’s not hard to have empathy (or, at least, sympathy) for female guppies over the males in this case, is it?

I’m hoping that you are a parody, built to illustrate the unpleasant sequelae of the ‘Just World Hypothesis’; but I’m inclined to doubt it.


Ummm not feeling sorry for the male guppies.

Nature gives us what we need? I need to ensure the UK government doesn’t watch everything I do all the time - where’s that coming from then?


Guppy rape is a crime of violence, not sex. For the females.

Guppies are not concerned with justice.

well, not “bluntly”

Evolution gave them the barbs. They didn’t ask to be rapists. Their dads made them that way

A moment on my evolution education soapbox: Evolution doesn’t “give” you things. A species evolves and mutations either carry through in their offspring, or not. Evolution does not have a bag of goodies in store. Evolution is not a thing, person, activity, whatever. It’s a description of a broadly random process, that viewed from the outside, looking back, seems to make some kind of sensible order.

When the barbed willies came along, and ever since, there have probably been all sorts of small variations in guppies that never made it along the chain.

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I read a study a long time ago that explored the possibility that the shape of the human penis is related to the suction effect it can create. To suck out other men’s sperm from the vagina. Science!

I’m a fairly liberal, sympathetic person, but my when it comes to feeling sorry for guppies, I have found a limit to my own empathy. If further study shows that the female guppies suffer some sort of psychological damage, then I’ll gladly rethink my feelings on this subject.