In reading about unique reproductive strategies I've run into two closely related and comparatively unique mechanics. Both involved a female who was born 'pregnant' with at least a male, but the male sole job was to impregnate the mother/sisters prior to immediate death, with the females never mating with a male other then their relative. Thus, the outcome feels more similar to self fertilization of hermaphrodites then your traditional mutli-sex mating strategy.

I have heard of at least two species that did this. One in which the son was born along with a batch of females that he immediately mated with, another where the son actually mated with his sisters while still in the womb, and the children would then eat their way out of the mothers corpse to be born (fun stuff!)

I also recall reading an article which said a mother would lay an egg to have a son who would mate with the mother to produce females and then immediately die. However, this sounds so similar to the Haplodiploidy system that I wonder if the article I had been reading was simply misrepresenting a regular Haplodiploidy system by implying the males would never mate with other females (I read about it awhile ago so not sure, does anyone know if a species uses a haplodiplody system where the male never survive long enough to mate with other females?

I'm wondering if there is a name for this reproductive strategy. Specifically for any strategy where a male is produced, but only as a means of providing DNA to mother or sisters; with no means to mate with non-familiar entities.

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    $\begingroup$ Dont bee's do this to some extent, via producing males for reproduction, and males for working? And if so, would that be considered Eusociality? Sorry if I am way off base, I am an undergrad. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusociality $\endgroup$
    – Ro Siv
    Sep 9, 2015 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ @RoSiv the first example I gave was one involving mites which do not have a eusocial (is that a word?) system. Bees may do the same thing I described, but if so I think that's separate from eusociality. $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ @RoSiv - Bees aren't a good example of this as the drones of a hive leave as adults to find virgin queens to mate with. The queen of their hive mated with a drone outside of her birth hive to begin her own colony. She doesn't need to mate again. $\endgroup$ May 23, 2018 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


The non-random mating of individuals within a population is called Assortative Mating. Mating specifically with individuals that share similar traits is called Positive Assortative Mating. However, sharing similar traits doesn't imply being closely related.

The reproduction by two closely related individuals is called inbreeding. The opposite of inbreeding is outbreeding (a.k.a. outcrossing).

To my knowledge, a mating system where all individuals inbreed doesn't have a special term. Searching google.scholar for mating system inbreeding will show you a lot of articles that talk about mating systems where all individuals inbreed without needing to use a specific term for it.


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