Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to neoteny: pedomorphism, paedomorphism


(nēŏt`ənē), in biology, sexual maturity reached in the larval stage of some animals. Certain environmental conditions can inhibit the completion of metamorphosis; low temperature or lack of available iodine retard the action of the thyroid gland, the larval form may mature sexually, mate, and produce fertile eggs. If environmental conditions improve, neoteny is reversible; i.e., the larvae can complete metamorphosis and attain normal maturity. When neoteny occurs in some salamanders (see axolotlaxolotl
, a salamander, Ambystoma mexicanum, found in certain lakes in the region of Mexico City, which reaches reproductive maturity without losing its larval characteristics.
..... Click the link for more information.
), they remain aquatic. In insects, reproduction in the larval stages is known as paedogenesis; it occurs in certain beetles and gall midges. In the midges, the daughter larvae produced within a mother larva consume the mother and escape; the process may continue for several generations.



the ability of certain organisms to attain sexual maturity and reproduce during the larval stage or elsewhere in their early ontogeny.

Neoteny is known to occur in some amphibians, arthropods, and worms, and in many plants. The larvae of the caudate salamanders of the genus Ambystoma, or axolotls, are the classic example of neoteny. Axolotls lost the capacity for metamorphosis but are able to reproduce, retaining the form of an aquatic animal with gills, fins, and other larval organs. Neoteny gave rise to the perennibranch caudate amphibians, such as the cave proteus (Necturus maculosus), the blind newt (Typhlomolge rathbun), and sirenians. These are matured “larvae” that maintain an aquatic mode of life.

In the plant world, neoteny is found among bryophytes, club mosses, ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms. For example, the simple organization of structures in the duckweed originated as a result of a cessation in development during one of the earliest stages of ontogeny. An interesting example of neoteny is the female gametophyte in angiosperms, the embryo sac.



[′nē·ə‚tē·nē or nē′ät·ən·ē]
(vertebrate zoology)
A phenomenon peculiar to some salamanders, in which large larvae become sexually mature while still retaining gills and other larval features.
References in periodicals archive ?
The developmental retardation that causes neoteny is heterochrony--the "alteration and reversal of the sequence of [developmental] stages" in a descendant compared with the developmental sequence of its ancestors (de Beer 1930, 9).
Neoteny, evolution and the New Zealand Parsonia hybrids (Apocynaceae).
This spine projection, which rarely develops in adults of the riverine species, seems to be associated with ontogenetic development in the marine species, leading to the assumption that it is related to neoteny.
Neoteny (ne-oht-ah-ne-) The retention of juvenile characteristics through adulthood.
Besides those described in the text, give an example of physical neoteny and behavioral neoteny.
Beauty rears its ugly head, of course: there would be no "Wonderful Tonight" without Pattie's long blonde hair, corn-flower-blue eyes, neoteny (the retention of such juvenile characteristics as large, widely-spaced eyes), and diastema (that adorable little space between the front teeth that drove director Les Blank, for example, so mad he made a film in 1987 called "Gap-Toothed Women" to celebrate it).
Neoteny is the persistence of infantile or juvenile characteristics into adulthood.
Considering these characters, in combination with the small size of the animals, suggests the possibility that their evolution involves progenesis or neoteny and, in that case, that their indicated basal positions among hesionids may be spurious.
Variability in the frequency of male neoteny in Ostrea puelchana (Mollusca: Bivalvia).
NEOTENY, YEP, WARREN BENNIS DEFINITELY HAS HIS FAIR SHARE of it: that youthful curiosity and zest for knowledge that surprises us when we see it in older people.
attributing humanlike traits to nonhumans), neoteny (i.
veep of content and marketing Lucy Hood's keynote will be mobile entertainment, while Japan's Joichi Ito, prexy of investment company Neoteny, will talk about mobile lifestyles.