Bedbugs are unique insects with different appearances depending on their sex and their preferred blood meal. Both sexes have three body parts, including a thorax and abdomen. Although bedbugs have the same number of legs and antennae, they differ in their appearance. Female bedbugs have longer first legs than male ones, and the latter appear to have shorter legs.
Although male and female bedbugs look similar, the difference between them can make them difficult to distinguish. Females are rounded at the back, while males have pointed abdomens. Bedbugs are gonochoristic, meaning that the sexes have separate reproductive organs. While females can lay eggs in homes, males do not.
Adult female bedbugs cannot reproduce without a male bedbug, and they must first be fed five times. In addition, females will lay eggs every day for a few weeks. Once pregnant, females will continue to mate with males to produce more eggs. Females lay between five and twenty eggs during their life cycle.
Male bed bugs have evolved counter-adaptations against female bedbugs. This helps them circumvent the mating plug and overcome the resistance of the female during copulation. This is important for male fitness, as the female’s survival is dependent on the male’s ability to reproduce.