Now I get to enjoy more of the same from her NY Times blog where she write roughly once a week with another fascinating story of creatures and their amazing/perplexing/unusual/fascinating aspects.
Here is a fascinating bit about masculine immaculate conception in Judson's NY Times blog:
Sex, to get technical about it, is the mixing of genes from two parents to make a new individual that has a genetic contribution from both. Asexuality thus refers to any of a number of forms of reproduction that involve only one genetic parent.
That parent is typically the female. The reason is that, in many species, females can easily reproduce without males. An egg, after all, contains nutrients and other stuff that an embryo needs in order to grow. Often, the only thing the egg is missing is the set of genes that comes from the father. But this set of genes can sometimes be dispensed with — the egg can develop without it. As a consequence, females in species from aphids to dandelions are the ultimate single mothers: they reproduce without males, and each is the sole genetic parent of her offspring.
Becoming an ultimate single dad is more complicated. The problem is that sperm are little more than mobile packets of DNA: they don’t have what it takes to grow into a new individual by themselves. For an offspring to have a father but no mother thus requires some genetic jiggery-pokery.