This immediately got my attention. Fortunately a very quick dig pulled up this article from Scientific American, which made everything much clearer. I know this isn’t the only case of gender mimicry in the insect world, but I can see why some rove beetles can be called transvestites. It’s self-protective:
So if a smaller male happened to find himself in a mating or eating situation, he would pretend to be female, inviting nearby males to mate with him in the process.
And now I have “transvestite rove beetle” in my Google search history, which tickles me.
If you enjoy beautiful pictures of beetles (and who doesn’t?) I can also recommend the photography of Lisa Charles Watson.
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