You know the saying: be a lady in the streets and a cabbage butterfly in the sheets. The cabbage white butterfly might look like the most vanilla insect out there, but its sex life is anything but. It involves colossal sperm packages, vagina dentata, and reproductive digestion.
The white cabbage butterfly is one of the most common types of butterfly in the DMV and thrives on brassica plants like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. But, after taking a closer look, scientist Nathan Morehouse discovered they are pretty kinky.
To reproduce, a male butterfly ejaculates massive solid balls of sperm that amount to 13% of its body weight. Some will even devour their own organs to produce the balls. The “package” is then left in the female’s reproductive pouch, where she will chew it (yes, she’s got teeth down there) for over 36 hours as it moves down her reproductive tract. The sperm pod also includes nutrients that the female will break down and use to lay the eggs.
Unfortunately, this Herculean feat can only be attempted two to three times in a male butterfly's lifetime. A female can mate up to six times and keeps the shells of every sperm pod in her genitalia for life. How cute.