Showing posts from June, 2014

Amazing Asexuality

One of my most popular posts on this blog has been, "Giving Birth to Hairy Worms", all about the Renaissance belief in spontaneous generation (ie giving birth without the need for sexual reproduction).  While the idea may seem far fetched, it turns out that spontaneous generation is in fact all around us.  And it's called parthenogenesis. In fact, it's right in my garden.  The round things growing on my tree are oak galls.  They are created by wingless, asexual female gall wasps, which are born from galls in the tree roots, created by winged females, who have mated with males.  The tree galls hatch more wasps, which begin the double cycle again.  So every other generation of female gall wasps will be asexual and wingless.  The next generation will be sexual and winged. Other creatures that reproduce asexually incude aphids, which produce exact clones of themselves, and a certain species of ant. Amazingly, parthenogenesis is not limited to small creatures like insects.