J.I.M. (bajoelarbol) wrote in wtf_nature,

mitey mites

I bring to you the story of the mite - of cannibalism, incest and death.

*ahem* The Adactylidium genus is quite interesting because of it's peculiar life cycle. At the time of birth, a single, small male mite comes out of its mother only to die instantaneously. At the time of impregnation the mommy mite attaches herself to the egg of a thrips. The egg provides all the nourishment she will need until delivery. Inside her there is a brood of five to eight sisters accompanied by a single brother, that will become the husband for them all. In this genus there is an imbalanced proportion of females to males. While inside the mom, the larvae mature and the sisters take turns having sex with the brother. Then, they devour their mother alive from the inside out to be born. The mother has become a mass of tissue filled with her babies feces and discarded skeletons. The brother dies and each impregnated sister begins the life cycle again.

here is the baby momma:

The closely related Acarophenax tribolii takes the process one step further. In this species the male is never born at all, it dies inside its mother after copulating.

source: The Panda's Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould

Tags: arachnid, invertebrate, mites, sex

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