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Voltinism is a term used in biology to indicate the number of broods or generations of an organism in a year. The term is particularly in use in sericulture, where silkworm varieties vary in their voltinism.

  • Univoltine - (adjective) referring to organisms having one brood or generation per year
  • Bivoltine - (adjective) referring to organisms having two broods or generations per year
  • Multivoltine - (adjective) referring to organisms having more than two broods or generations per year
  • Semivoltine - (adjective) referring to organisms whose generation time is more than one year


The number of breeding cycles in a year is under genetic control in many species[1] and they are evolved in response to the environment. Many phytophagous species that are dependent on seasonal plant resources are univoltine. Some such species have the ability to diapause for a large part of the year, typically during a cold winter.[2] Others that bore in wood or other low-grade, but plentiful, food material may spend nearly the entire year feeding, with only brief pupal, adult and egg stages to complete a univoltine life cycle. Yet other species that live in tropical regions with little seasonality may be highly multivoltine, with several generations feeding on constantly growing vegetation (such as some species of Saturniidae or continually renewed detritus, such as Drosophila and many other genera of flies with a life cycle of just a week or two.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Coates BS, Sumerford DV, and Hellmich RL. 2004. Geographic and voltinism differentiation among North American Ostrinia nubilalis (European corn borer) mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase haplotypes. 9pp. Journal of Insect Science, 4:35, Available online: [1]
  2. ^ Hunter, M.D. and J.N. McNeil. 1997 Host-plant quality influences diapause and voltinism in a polyphagous insect herbivore. Ecology 78: 977-986. [2]
  3. ^ Timothy Duane Schowalter (2011). Insect Ecology: An Ecosystem Approach. Academic Press. pp. 159–. ISBN 978-0-12-381351-0. Retrieved 27 April 2013.