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 But female cicadas lay their eggs in twigs and small branches after cutting grooves in them with a sharp organ called an ovipositor on its abdomen. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, 28 May 2021 Females lay their eggs After male and female cicadas hook up, the females slice into small tree branches using their ovipositor—a saw-like organ—and lay nests of 20 to 30 eggs at a time. Rebecca Katzman, Time, 12 May 2021 The wasp grabs hold of the caterpillar and drives its ovipositor into the squishy body, injecting a single egg. Matt Simon, Wired, 9 Nov. 2020 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, 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, 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, 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, 10 Aug. 2017 In turn, the moth lays her eggs with its thin, blade-like ovipositor on the flowers’ seeds. Sam Schipani, Smithsonian, 10 Aug. 2017 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of ovipositor was in 1815

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Cite this Entry

“Ovipositor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ovipositor. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for ovipositor


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


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