Scientists are putting a great deal of time into studying beetle penises, and not for the reasons you might think. The behavior of erect beetle genitalia could serve as the perfect inspiration for improvements in medical catheter design.

The issue researchers are trying to solve is the flimsiness of catheters, which need to be able to be easily inserted into the body. However, they can’t be so rigid that they’re unable to maneuver through the body’s interior to get to their target. They also must be able to stay rigid enough inside the body to avoid buckling somewhere along the way, which would cause liquids to stop flowing.

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Mothers instinctively put their offspring’s needs before everything and everyone else, even their own mates. However, a new research study reveals that burying beetles can chemically stave off their companions’ advances.

The study, published in Nature Communications, says that female burying beetles excrete a pheromone called the juvenile hormone. In high doses, this chemical discourages any breeding interest from the mother beetle’s mate. The beetle can release the juvenile hormone for up to three days during the period of time her young beetles are in the larval stage, which is the time during which they are most dependent on their parents.

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