A Fly With a Forked Penis Was Accidentally Found in Australia - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

A Fly With a Forked Penis Was Accidentally Found in Australia

It has been described as “double-barreled.”

The fly’s forked penis. (Photo: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage/Used with Permission)

When it comes to insect genitalia, it’s not size that matters, but apparently how many you’ve got. At least that seems to be the case with a newly-discovered species of long-legged fly that has a forked penis.

The new variety of “walking fly” was discovered in Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park, according to the Australian Broadcasting Network. The well-endowed bug was discovered by Professor Gunther Theischinger, who has identified over 700 new species of insect during his career. He found it accidentally while sampling for aquatic insects in the park. 

The male specimen himself. (Photo: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage/Used with permission)

The fly is now a new genus and species of crane fly, which are known for their long legs and little wings. Named Minipteryx robusta, the creature was also notable for its relatively small wings, which seemed too tiny to be effective. 

Professor Theischinger is not sure what benefit the extra penis gives the fly, and would likely have to find a female of the species to find out. He speculates, though, that it may be there to make up for the lack of functional wings, which would otherwise help provide some control during fly copulation. For now, then, Minipteryx robusta’s double penis remains a sexy mystery.