Watch an Entomologist Inflate a Dead Insect's Genitals

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A phalloblaster is a must-have for entomologists. It’s a sort of alcohol squirt-gun that can be used to inflate the genitals of a dead insect. Here you can see it at work. And after this, you can never un-see it.

Insect genitalia are important to study, but hard to find, and even harder to separate from the rest of the insect. The solution to this problem comes in the form of a phalloblaster, seen here using alcohol to inflate the coremata, or pheromone-spreading scent glands, of a male moth.

Coremata are affectionately-known as “hair pencils” or “feather dusters.” They, and insect mating apparati in general, come in all kinds of shapes. This is one of the reasons it’s necessary for researchers to be able to inflate, detach, preserve, and study them, even if it is a sight that will both fascinate you and haunt your nightmares.