The bagworm family (Lepidoptera: Psychidae) includes approximately 1000 species, all of which complete larval development within a self-enclosing bag. The family is remarkable in that female aptery occurs in over half of the known species and within 9 of the 10 currently recognized subfamilies. In the more derived subfamilies, several life-history traits are associated with eruptive population dynamics, e.g., neoteny of females, high fecundity, dispersal on silken threads, and high level of polyphagy. Other salient features shared by many species include a short embryonic period, developmental synchrony, sexual segregation of pupation sites, short longevity of adults, male-biased sex ratio, sexual dimorphism, protogyny, parthenogenesis, and oviposition in the pupal case. The unusual mating behavior of bagworms, characterized by an earlier emergence of females than males and a high proportion of females that do not mate as adults, challenges conventional wisdom regarding the evolution of mating systems.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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