Adactylidium is a genus of mites. It is known for its short and unusual life cycle. The pregnant female mite attaches herself to a single egg of a thrip. She grows from five to eight female offspring and one male in her body. The offspring begin to eat their mother from the inside out. The single male mite mates with all his sisters when they are still in the mother. The females, now pregnant, cut holes in their mother's body. This is so that they can get out to find new thrips eggs. The male gets out too. But having served his biological function he dies after a few hours. The females die at the age of four days, when their own offspring eat them alive from the inside.
References[change | change source]
- Stephen Jay Gould (1980). "Death before birth, or a mite's nunc dimittis". The panda's thumb: more reflections in natural history. Norton. pp. 69–75.
- Gould, Stephen Jay 1980. The throwaway male. New Scientist. 86, (1204), Apr 24, p. 206.
- Kirkwood T.B. & Cremer T. (1982). "Cytogerontology since 1881: a reappraisal of August Weismann and a review of modern progress" (PDF). Human Genetics 60 (2): 101–121. doi:10.1007/BF00569695. PMID 7042533. http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/9265/1/cremer_thomas_9265.pdf.