The Marine Life Information Network

Information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Reproductive type


1) Reproduction not involving the exchange of genetic matererial, amictic, individuals derived from a single parent (Barnes et al., 1993). 2) Reproduction not involving the fusion of gametes (Lincoln et al., 1998).



An asexual processes occurring as a result of fragmentation, division or budding from the parent organism (see Lincoln et al., 1998). Development by somatic growth (see Bold, 1977).


A form of asexual multiplication in which a new individual begins life as an outgrowth from the body of the parent. It may then separate to lead an independent existence or remain connected or otherwise associated to form a colonial organism (Barnes et al., 1993).



A form of asexual multiplication involving division of the body into two or more parts each or all of which can grow into new individuals (Barnes et al., 1993).


Apomictic parthenogenesis

1) Reproduction via single cells /eggs that are derived by mitosis - amictic (Barnes et al., 1993). 2) Parthenogenesis in which meiosis is suppressed so that neither chromosome reduction nor corresponding phenomenon occurs (Lincoln et al., 1998). 


1) Reproduction involvong the regular alternation of gaamete formation by meiosis, and gamete fusion (karyogamy) to form a zygote (Lincoln et al.,1998).  2) Reproduction where recombination of genetic material, derived form more than one parent is possible (Barnes et al., 1993).


Hermaphrodite (monoecious)

Both male and female reproductive organs in a single individual (animals) or flower (plants) (Lincoln et al., 1998). 

Permanent (synchronous) hermaphrodite

Capable of producing both ova and spermatozoa either at the same time (Barnes et al., 1993).


Union of male and female gametes produced by the same individual (Lincoln et al., 1998). 


Incapable of self-fertilization, due to physical or temporal separation of gametes, and/or self-compatability genes.

Automictic parthenogenesis

Obligate self-fertilization (Lincoln et al., 1998) in which haploid eggs /gametes are produced by meiosis but diploidy restored without fertilization (but sometimes with insemination).

Sequential hermaphrodite

Consecutive hermaphrodite (Lincoln et al., 1998) - in which one type of gamete (male or female) is produced before the other.

Protandrous hermaphrodite

Hermaphroditism in plants and animals where male gametes mature and are shed before female gametes mature (Holmes, 1979).

Protogynous hermaphrodite

Hermaphroditism in plants and animals where female gametes mature and are shed before male gametes mature (Holmes, 1979).

Gonochoristic (dioecious)

Having separate sexes/genders (Barnes et al., 1993).




Haploid males develop from unfertilized eggs



Males develop from diploid fertilized eggs but subsequently eliminate orsilence the paternal genome


Alternation of generations

The alternation of generations, in the life cycle of an organism, that exhibit different modes of reproduction; typically sexual (diploid) and asexual (haploid) phases. Also termed metagenesis (Lincoln et al., 1998). (e.g. Daphnia, some rotifers).


Reproduction via spores


Barnes, R.S.K., Calow, P. and Olive P.J.W., 1993. The invertebrates: a new synthesis. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd.

Bold, H.C., 1977. The Plant Kingdom (4th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.

Holmes, S., 1979. Henderson’s dictionary of biological terms. 9th ed. London: Hendersons.

Lincoln, R., Boxshall, G. & Clark, P., 1998. A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University of Press.