Newly Discovered Giant Lizard Is Human-Sized, Has Two Penises


Biologists have just made one of the most stunning animal discoveries of the year–it’s a cousin of the komodo dragon uncovered on an island in the Philippines. Scientists have dubbed the species of monitor lizard, which measures over six feet in length, the Varanus bitatawa. More on the giant lizard that biologists are calling ‘spectacular’ after the jump. And yes, we’ll get to the whole dual-penis thing.

The AFP reports that the lizard is brightly colored, is not a carnivore (unlike its relative the komodo dragon), and has been habitually hunted by the local populace for food. Combined with ongoing habitat loss from development on the island, the lizard is almost certain to be classified as critically endangered. What’s most amazing about this discovery (besides the fact that the lizard has two members, of course) is that it took place right smack dab in the middle of a highly populated area. According to the AFP, “One reason that the new lizard has gone undetected, the researchers speculate, is that it never leaves the forests of its native Sierra Madre mountains to traverse open spaces.”


Butterflies Use Penis To Gauge Sex Competition


BUTTERFLY sex is not as elegant an affair as you might think. It seems that male monarch butterflies conduct an all-out sperm war based on a crude measure of how much sperm is stored inside a female from a previous mating.
During sex the males physically restrain the females for an entire day while injecting them with a fluid which contains fertile sperm as well as seemingly functionless cells without nuclei.

Michelle Solensky of The College of Wooster in Ohio paired male monarch butterflies with a selection of females that had had different numbers of partners.

She found that males could selectively increase or decrease the amount of fertile sperm in their deposits. For example, they deposited slightly more into a female for each of her previous mates (Animal Behaviour, DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.10.026). “This may explain earlier observations that the last male to mate has a reproductive advantage,” says Solenksy.