Stick insects that are normally asexual may occasionally have sex

The stick insect Timema monikense normally reproduces asexually

Vickery & Sandoval (Public domain)

Two supposedly asexual species of stick insects may engage in occasional bouts of sex, helping to widen their gene pool and avoid harmful mutations.

A handful of animals reproduce asexually, primarily through a process known as parthenogenesis, which involves creating embryos from unfertilised eggs. Species that do this include some insects, reptiles and fish.

“All members of a parthenogenetic population can produce offspring, so they have this huge demographic advantage,” says Darren Parker at Bangor University in the UK. This is because …


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