Why Are There So Many Aphids? | Aphid reproduction | Scoop.it

Parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction, is the first key to an aphid's long family tree. With few exceptions, aphids in spring and summer are all females. The first wingless matriarchs hatch from eggs in early spring, equipped to reproduce without the need for male mates. Within a few weeks, these females produce more females, and soon after that, the third generation arrives. And so on, and so on, and so on. The aphid population expands exponentially without the benefit of a single male.

 

In some circumstances, aphids gain an advantage by switching to more traditional means of reproduction. All would be for naught if the aphids in cold climates just froze to death at year's end. As days become shorter and temperatures fall, aphids begin producing winged females and males. They find suitable mates, and the females lay eggs on perennial host plants. The eggs will carry on the family tree, producing next year's first batch of wingless females.