It has been known for long that the temperature inside the breeding ground where reptiles lay their eggs determines the sex of the hatchlings.
But temperature and weather might also have a clear effect on determining the sex of offspring in insects as well.
Latest research by a team of experts led by Joffrey Moiroux from the University of Montreal in Canada showed that a particular species of oophagous parasitoid (Trichogramma euproctidis) was influenced by external temperature while laying eggs that determined the sex of the next generation.
One of the interesting features about Trichogramma is that it lays its eggs inside a host insect that would be later consumed by the larvae down the line!
Research showed that at hotter temperatures the female produced 80 percent more males than when temperature was moderate.
Three different temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius, 24 degrees Celsius, and 14 degrees Celsius were used to test out this theory.
While more males were produced when it was hotter, colder temperatures compromised the ability of the insect to deliberately determine the sex of the offspring.
According to Moiroux, “It is possible to predict whether the parasitoid will lay a son or daughter by observing the presence or absence of a pause in its abdominal contractions at the time of spawning”.
A pause indicates fertilization of the egg and hence a female is born, while the unfertilized eggs end up becoming males.