Seven animals that can change sex

Several animals have the remarkable ability to change their sex during their lifetimes, a phenomenon known as sequential hermaphroditism. This adaptation often occurs in response to environmental cues, social interactions, or the need for reproductive advantage. Here are seven fascinating examples.

Clownfish: All clownfish are born male, and they have the ability to turn into females. In clownfish societies, there is a strict hierarchy: the largest individual is the female, and the second largest is the male. If the female dies, the dominant male will change sex and become the female.

Wrasses: Some species of wrasses start life as females and become males (protogynous hermaphroditism). In these species, if the dominant male dies or is removed, the largest female of the group will often change sex to become the new dominant male.

Gobies: Similar to wrasses, some goby species exhibit protogynous hermaphroditism where females can transform into males under certain social conditions, such as the absence of a dominant male.

Moray eels: Many moray eels are sequential hermaphrodites. Some species are known to start life as females and can later change into males, a strategy that maximizes their reproductive output over their lifetimes.

Parrotfish: Many parrotfish species begin life as females and become males (protogynous). In some species, the coloration of the fish changes dramatically with the sex change, which is often linked to changes in social status.

Anemonefish: Like clownfish (which are a subset of anemonefish), these fish live in hierarchical groups dominated by a female. If the female anemonefish dies, the largest male changes sex and becomes the new female.

Hawkfish: Hawkfish also show protogynous hermaphroditism where some species start life as females and later change to males. This change often occurs to fill a vacancy in the social hierarchy and to maximize reproductive success.

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