Insect STDs

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!!

Speaking of romance…

A while back, I posted about the difference between density-dependent and frequency-dependent disease transmission.  The “typical” example of a parasite/pathogen with frequency-dependent transmission is one that is sexually transmitted.

For humans and other mammals, most STDs are caused by viruses or bacteria (e.g., HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia).  One notable exception is pubic lice.  However, for things like insects, all kinds of parasite taxa can be sexually transmitted.  In fact, most insect STDs are from multicellular parasites!  Sexual transmission is an especially successful strategy when host organisms are mostly solitary, so that interactions are rare outside of the breeding season.

There’s a link below to a review with all kinds of insect STD info – check it out!


Don’t judge.  The world needed this.


Knell, R.J., and K.M. Webberly.  2004. Sexually transmitted diseases of insects: distribution, evolution, ecology and host behaviour.  Biol Rev 79(3): 557-81.  (Direct link to PDF download)

2 thoughts on “Insect STDs

  1. “Public lice”! You got me really confused on that! I know very well that jokes and puns are a crucial part of your writing style, and I love it, but I just can’t know when it’s a mistake or a joke, anymore. I consider myself lucky for finding your blog, keep up the good work, cheers from Cyprus 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s