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Beetle Penises May Inspire Changes to Catheter Design Beetle Penises May Inspire Changes to Catheter Design

Beetle Penises May Inspire Changes to Catheter Design

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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.

The sexual organ of the beetle is unique in that it is ten millimeters in length, which is longer than the entire body of the insect itself. Unlike other insect penises, though, the beetle’s organ has the ability to contort in order to follow the female beetle’s sex organ, which is coiled in shape. To get around those coils, the beetle’s penis has a hook at the end.

To learn more about the activity of the insect’s organ, the team tested how far it could bend, as well as other features. They learned that the beetle’s penis is far more complex than it appears initially, making it ideal as a model for catheter design.

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Read 3258 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 December 2017 02:11
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on,, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

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