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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Something learned every day

I don't think I've ever seen our Alpine lotuses as tall as they are this year. Some of the taller ones in the middle appear to be at least three feet tall.


I learned something that's probably common knowledge but I didn't know. It's concerning parthenogenesis. I did not know that some stick insects reproduce only females if they reproduce asexually.

Some stick insect species have a very interesting way to produce offspring: the female can produce young without needing a male! The eggs she produces are unfertilized, but do develop properly and grow into an adult female stick insect. The production of a new individual out of an unfertilized egg is called parthenogenesis. The female that produces these eggs is called parthenogenic. Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction.
Stick insects (Phasmatodea) are not the only insects that can produce asexually. There are also aphids, water fleas (Daphnia sp.), nematodes, plants, snakes, the whiptail lizard Cnemidophorus neomexicanus and more species that reproduce through parthenogenesis. It is possible to produce males or females through parthenogenesis, depending on the species. In stick insects only females are produced through parthenogenesis. Not all stick insect species can reproduce without fertilization, many species do need a male to fertilize the eggs.

2 comments:

  1. During the 1980s, extensive field work was conducted to clarified the distribution of the two species (one undescribed) of the parthenogenetiC Cnemidophorus laredoensis complex of lizards. The two species, designated LAR-A and LAR-B, were found either singly or together at 37 sites in Texas;
    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Texas-Journal-Science/78359398.html

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