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He is both father and grandfather to his own grandchildren.
On top of that, these insects are mostly hermaphrodites.
At some time, there would have been a tipping point when conflict gave way to collaboration.
Females would pass on more of their own genes to the next generation if they mate with their own parasitic fathers rather than with other males.
To Gardner and Ross, this suggests that the bacteria could help to protect the infectious tissue from being destroyed. Because the bacteria are passed down from mother to daughter. In this regard, their “interests” are the same as those of the infectious tissue. The evolution of hermaphroditism by an infectious male-derived cell lineage: an inclusive-fitness analysis.
There is a final twist to this tale: Gardner and Ross think that the scale insects carry a passenger that could have quickened the demise of the males – a bacterium.
Many insects carry helpful bacteria that provide them with important nutrients, and the cottony cushion scale is no different.
If the baby is male, the internal sex organs mature and begin to produce the male hormone testosterone.
If the hormones reach the tissues correctly, the external genitals that looked female change into the scrotum and penis.
Sons are a dead-end; daughters provide vessels that sail into the next generation.