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Now researchers have found that after enduring bouts of traumatic insemination, the females live fast and die young.
Those female warehouse pirate bugs take advantage of what life they have left and produce more eggs quicker than other pirate bugs.
"These multiply mated females died at a significantly younger age, but they started laying eggs earlier and at a higher rate to compensate," study researcher Thomas Cameron, of Umeå University in Sweden, told LiveScience in an email. "I would say it's not quite right to say that multiple mating is good for females, but it is something that they have evolved to deal with."
Though the warehouse pirate bug may be able to mate normally (inserting the penis into the female's reproductive tract), they seem to have ditched this for the traumatic type of mating, Cameron said.
That's a seemingly odd choice, since dagger-penis mating is dangerous: Traumatic insemination leaves gaping, seeping wounds on the female. The researchers wondered if this dangerous mating habit affected the female's life span or reproductive ability.
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