ovipositor

noun
ovi·​pos·​i·​tor | \ ˈō-və-ˌpä-zə-tər How to pronounce ovipositor (audio) , ˌō-və-ˈpä- \

Definition of ovipositor

: a specialized organ (as of an insect) for depositing eggs — see insect illustration

Examples of ovipositor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Anna Ward for The Forbes Lab, The University of Iowa To deposit its eggs, the parasitic oak gall wasp pierces a leaf or stem with its ovipositor, a long tubelike organ that would be a stinger if this wasp were the kind that stings. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "There Are Parasitic Wasps, and Then There’s the Crypt-Keeper," 27 Sep. 2019 These wasps lay their eggs inside their host using organs known as ovipositors, which are shaped like tubes. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Fossils Show Ancient Horrifying Xenomorph-Style Insects," 29 Aug. 2018 Parasitoid wasps like the Clistopyga crassicaudata typically have a long ovipositor to lay eggs that is also used as a stinger. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Newly Discovered Wasp Has a Terrifyingly Large Stinger," 8 July 2018 Research already demonstrates that the differences in ovipositor length and body size in the yucca moths’ genomes are more pronounced, suggesting that natural selection has driven the discrepancy. Sam Schipani, Smithsonian, "How a Tree and Its Moth Shaped the Mojave Desert," 10 Aug. 2017 In turn, the moth lays her eggs with its thin, blade-like ovipositor on the flowers’ seeds. Sam Schipani, Smithsonian, "How a Tree and Its Moth Shaped the Mojave Desert," 10 Aug. 2017 When the styles are too short, the moths can damage the flowers with their ovipositor. Sam Schipani, Smithsonian, "How a Tree and Its Moth Shaped the Mojave Desert," 10 Aug. 2017 Stinger and ovipositors are now separate in all insects except parasitic wasps, which often inject their eggs into a host with just a splash of paralyzing venom. National Geographic, "The Worst Places to be Stung? Ask This Guy," 5 June 2016 Once the plant surface is covered, insects have a really difficult time inserting either their mouthparts or ovipositors into the plants to do damage. Sally Mccabe, Philly.com, "June 16-22: In the garden, it's time to…," 16 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ovipositor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ovipositor

1815, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ovipositor

New Latin, from Latin ov- + positor one that places, from ponere to place — more at position

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ovipositor

Time Traveler for ovipositor

Time Traveler

The first known use of ovipositor was in 1815

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ovipositor

Cite this Entry

“Ovipositor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ovipositor. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ovipositor

ovipositor

noun
ovi·​pos·​i·​tor | \ ˈō-və-ˌpäz-ət-ər, ˌō-və-ˈ How to pronounce ovipositor (audio) \

Medical Definition of ovipositor

: a specialized organ (as of an insect) for depositing eggs

More from Merriam-Webster on ovipositor

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ovipositor

Comments on ovipositor

What made you want to look up ovipositor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!