"Male honeybee genitals explode after sex"
I'd always thought male bees simply droned on in boring fashion, but I just didn't know! I've heard of smoking after sex, but exploding? (I suppose the latter would follow the former . . .) Does the drone survive, or is this a martyrdom operation? Survival would be fruitless, I suggest. What point would there be to a sterile drone's life? Better to die a martyr's death and awaken in that mythical paradise with its promise of 70 white grapes that've never been plucked! Paradise for bees, anyway . . .
But where did I obtain this tidbit of knowledge about bees? From a New York Times book review by Elizabeth Royte, "Here's Looking at You, Katydid" (September 2, 2011), of Marlene Zuk's Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language From the Insect World. Here are other frightening facts from Zuk's book, courtesy of Royte's review:
[W]asps turn cockroaches into zombie incubators; . . . crickets [in Hawaii are] parasitized by flies that deposit burrowing larvae on their bodies. After hatching, the fly larvae begin to eat the cricket's fat. As the maggots grow, they colonize the entire body cavity and consume all its organs until the creature "is a shell that looks like a cricket but is pulsing inside with fly."Thank God flies don't parasitize humans in this way! Just knowing such things about insects is troubling enough, as Royte points out:
Once you know what insects are actually doing . . . [Zuk] writes, "things will never be the same."Exactly. As T. S. Eliot puts it in "Gerontion":
"After such knowledge, what forgiveness?"But whom do we not forgive? Who is responsible for such a world? A place where fly larvae eat up crickets from the inside? Bad enough! Where a drone bee's genitals explode after a gentle flight of lovemaking? Worse still, from my masculine perspective! Or where wasps turn cockroaches into zombies? Actually, this one's okay -- roaches deserve their fate. But cockroaches excepted, why did the good Lord allow such atrocities in the insect world? Have insects no universal rights? Presumably, the Creator had His reasons. I realize that the traditional Christian view would attribute such disturbing practices among insects to the effects of the Fall, and that was Eliot's solution:
"These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree."But I'd like to see the explanation of just how those deleterious effects took place in their concrete, specific detail. I'll bet John Milton would be up to the task. If only he had known just how fallen the insect world is! We might then know how it all happened to fall out.
But what if those insect evils should prove to be irreducibly complex?