Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ants: "No more males!"

The Amazonian ant Mycocepurus smithii has no longer any need for the male in order to reproduce themselves; they have developed into an all-female species.

They reproduce through cloning and is the first species ever to develop in this way.

Although there are other cases of asexual reproduction, where females lay eggs before the male fertilizes them, these ants have no longer any need for a male at all.

BBC News
There are advantages to life without sex, Dr Anna Himler explained.

"It avoids the energetic cost of producing males, and doubles the number of reproductive females produced each generation from 50% to 100% of the offspring."

The ants have become physically incapable of mating, as the "mussel organ", an essential part of their reproductive system, has degenerated, leaving them with no means of reproducing through sexual relations of any kind, making the male superfluous.

A glimpse into the future of all species, perhaps?
Men - do we really need them?

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