M. Maraun and K.Wehne via the University of Cologne
Virgin Territory

Scientists Discover Creature That Never Has Sex

byTony Tran
9. 26. 21
M. Maraun and K.Wehne via the University of Cologne

Here’s how it has kept reproducing for so long.

Clone Wars

Researchers have discovered how an ancient species of beetle has survived without having sex. 

The Oppiella nova is a species of all female “ancient asexual” beetle mites, according to a press release from the University of Cologne. For years, scientists have struggled to figure out how exactly the creatures reproduce and survive despite not having sex. At one point, they hypothesized that the beetle mites occasionally produce a reproductive male by accident (a la “Jurassic Park”).

Now, they have cracked the elusive puzzle: the beetles can create clones of itself. 

The Meselson Effect

That’s right. Unlike humans who typically just turn to porn and self-pleasure, the ancient beetle just creates clones of itself instead.


It turns out that O. nova can actually create genetically varied versions of itself through a process called the “Meselson effect.” This allows the beetle to create different copies of its genetic information with separate mutations. 

This is actually the first instance in which scientists have been able to observe and study the Meselson effect. The researchers have published a paper of their findings in PNAS. 

“That may sound simple. But in practice, the Meselson effect has never been conclusively demonstrated in animals — until now,” said co-author of the study Tanja Schwander in the press release. 

While incredibly rare, creatures that can survive without sexual reproduction do crop up in nature. Just last year, researchers discovered a gigantic UFO-like sea creature made up of millions of clones.


READ MORE: Some animal species can survive successfully without sexual reproduction [University of Cologne]

More on clone insects: A Single Bee Has Created an Immortal Army with Millions of Clones

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