Insect Reproductive Morphology

Insect taxonomists often must study the genitalia of insects to identify insect species. Some insect species resemble each other in most characters, but have distinctly different reproductive organs. The shape of the genitalia is important in mating. If the shape is not a correct fit, then mating cannot occur. Many entomologists consider that elaborate forms of insect reproductive organs can prevent closely related species from mating and forming hybrids that are less viable.

The tedious dissections made by entomologists are moving out of the laboratory and into the world of art. Artist, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, has created a new series called, “The Aesthetics of Reproductive Morphology”. This series features 3 dimensional artistic reproductions of insect genitalia. These larger than life sculptures are a celebration of the insect form and unique biology.

Maria Fernanda Cardoso, who is completing a Ph.D. at Sydney University will display her work during the Sydney (Australia) Biennale this June (2012) on Cockatoo Island. Those who live down under may want to plan a trip to see this art exhibit. Those who do not can see photos of the exhibition here.

Sculptures of Damselfly Genitalia by Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Photo: Tamara Dean

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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1 Response to Insect Reproductive Morphology

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