Representational image. Wikimedia Commons
In a picturesque village in the Netherlands, the modest St. Matthias Church became the unexpected scene of a revolutionary revelation about mammal mating.
Surveillance cameras have captured serotinous bats engaged in unique mating behavior, challenging established norms and prompting researchers to reconsider the intricacies of reproduction.
Uncovering the unconventional: Bats mate without penetration
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According to reports, black-and-white video footage showed serotine bats intertwined in a frenzied manner previously unknown in the mammalian world. What sets these images apart is the lack of penetration, a phenomenon known as intromission in reproductive science.
This unexpected discovery is believed to be the first documented evidence of a mammal engaging in non-penetrative mating.
The anatomical puzzle of serotine bats
Serotin bats, known scientifically as Eptesicus serotinus, have long intrigued scientists because of their unique anatomy. The male bat has an unusually large erect penis, with a heart-shaped head seven times larger than the female’s vagina. The sheer size of the species has raised questions about copulation mechanisms, leading researchers to consider two scenarios.
Two scenarios under surveillance: copulatory bond or cloacal kiss?
Scientists have wondered whether the penises of male bats engorge only inside the vagina, creating a copulatory bond, or whether the bats mate through contact similar to the “cloacal kiss” observed in bats. birds. Until now, such contact behavior had never been observed in mammals
From spam to scientific revelation: the journey of images of bats
The journey to this scientific revelation began with an email in Dutch, initially flagged as spam, containing the word “penis” and the Latin name for the serotin bat. The email, sent by Jan Jeucken, a bat monitor at St Matthias Church, included peculiar video footage.
Subsequent communications from a bat rehabilitation center in Kharkiv, Ukraine, provided additional images, bringing the total to 97 mating events for analysis.
Decoding bat behavior: video analysis and anatomical examinations
Analysis of the videos revealed that none of the men had engaged in penetrative sex. Instead, they used their oversized penis as a tool to push aside the membrane of the female’s tail and make contact with the vulva.
This non-penetrative mating process involved some trial and error but lasted on average about an hour, with some cases lasting almost 13 hours.
Anatomical examinations of living serotin bats confirmed the remarkable proportions of the penis and highlighted sensory hairs on the heart-shaped head.
Future investigations and the “Bat Porn Box”
Although the images do not definitively prove non-penetrative sex, observations of fluid on the women’s abdomens suggest attempts at sperm deposition. Scientists plan to swab females after mating and are developing a “bat porn box” to capture mating pairs from multiple angles, deepening our understanding of this unconventional reproductive behavior.
The scientific community reacts: a paradigm shift in bat reproduction
Experts, including Dr Nicolas Fasel from the University of Lausanne, said they were surprised by the unprecedented discovery. Some skeptics, such as Professor Paul Racey of the University of Exeter, have questioned the viability of mating without intromission, hinting at the potential waste of sperm.
However, the scientific community has recognized the need to be open-minded in light of recent revelations about bat sexual behavior.
With the contribution of agencies