Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Giant Prickly Virgin Births

Ah! Bless! Parthenogenesis in our very own home on Christmas Eve. After a week or so of voracious bramble chomping in the tank, the complete stripping of all vegetation from their habitat, our first stick insect egg of this batch arrived last week, and now has six sisters.

Like other phasmids, MacLeay’s Spectres (Extatosoma Tiarata) reproduce in two ways —
  1. Standard sexual reproduction (Vatican approved) which produces males and females, females with wing cases and males who fly. But for that you need males. We don’t have any, thus the girlie Phasmid Canoodling pictured below.
  2. Parthenogenesis. Yes! Real Parthenogenesis! But I caution earnestly against any attempt to build a Dawkins busting Virgin Birth sermon out of such phenomena. I once heard it attempted, and it made Jesus sound simultaneously like a freak (some kind of superior stick insect) and a run of the mill natural phenomenon, and both are exactly not what St Matthew had in mind. And, of course, what the preacher forgot was that if this model provides any insight into events in the first century holy land, Jesus would have been a girl.
So, it’s seven Girls! and we await some 700 little sisters for them from our five giant prickly virgins in their tank. This could challenge those with wonky thinking about paradiseGood news, here are your 700 virgins: Bad news, they’re all stick insects — Hallelujah!

1 comment:

Mona Albano said...

I really like your stick insect posts. The close-up photos are really nice--you have a good eye for proportion. How did you get interested?

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