Reproduction, female

Diana E. Wheeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the reproduction process in female insects. In female insects, reproduction generally involves producing yolky eggs, mating, and then laying fertilized eggs. Across the diversity of insects, however, different ways of reproducing illustrate an astounding variation in this simple series of events as well as divergence from it. In the most extreme examples, females can reproduce without supplying eggs with yolk, without mating, and even without laying eggs. Frequent confrontations between humans and insects in the arenas of agriculture and health make understanding insect reproduction of great practical importance. Production of the next generation of insects has several steps that are centered on the female. To reproduce, females need to make eggs or provide their embryos with nutrition in other ways. Once made, females must find an appropriate spot to deposit their eggs. For entomologists concerned with problem insects, these steps offer opportunities to disrupt reproduction and reduce the number of insects in the next generation. Second, the diversity of ways that insects reproduce provides a rich source of material for discovering the underlying rules of biology. For example, the extraordinary effectiveness of female insects in converting resources into eggs led to their use as an intensively studied model system. The process by which yolk is taken up into insect eggs serves as a model for how cells take up large molecules from the surrounding environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Insects
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9780123741448
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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