Home Animals Gender-Bending: 8 Interesting Animals That Can Change Gender

Gender-Bending: 8 Interesting Animals That Can Change Gender


It must be so cool to be one of the animals that can change gender whenever they want like the ones in our list today. It is like one day the creature is tired of being in that gender and decides, “Nah, I’m just gonna switch from today on.” Nature is a weird place but fascinating at the same time with a variety of different facts like that. So let’s find out with us what the animals that can change gender are. Not to mention a few of them are the animals that we are familiar with, check them out!


image: pixnio

Fish is one of the species of animals that can change gender, and fish does great in that. Take bass fish as an example, the specie may switch sex roles with their partners back and forth multiple times a day. Sometimes male bass fish switches to female while other times the female bass fish switch to male. The factors that cause that include the lack of any of the genders in their group, etc.

Usually, male fish is the one that guards their females against other males. When the male dies, the largest female will continue the role by developing their color and role to become the male in the group. In order to balance their number from becoming extinct, the fish has to sacrifice and bear the burden.

2Banana Slug

Slugs and snails have weirdly cool sex lives that not any animals can do. These slugs use the male and female reproductive organs that they are born with all at the same time. There is no changing back and forth between genders, it is just that they are both male and female. When it comes to time to mate, two slugs curl around one another then each one will use its enormous penis to inject sperm. That means all of these slugs have the ability to fertilize eggs and lay eggs with each other. It is more like the capability of using two genders with flexibility, but they deserve to be on the list anyway.


The interesting thing about butterflies is that they are born with both genders along with the characteristics and appearance of both. That usually results from a genetic error during cell division which makes them one of the animals that can change gender. With both genders on one body, butterflies can actually take sides and be the gender that they prefer.

4Bearded Dragon

Known as gender benders, bearded dragons do a sex reversal in the egg which is one interesting thing to know. Studies show that male beard dragons often reverse course to become female during egg incubation in warm temperatures. However, that is not a clean switch. They actually remain male genetically, but act and reproduce like females.
That is not all, these he-she lizards are not any ordinary moms but supermoms. They lay eggs twice more as a normal female does, and they take good care of the eggs too. Male bearded dragons are currently undergoing sex reversal at a rising rate mainly because of the global temperatures.


Remember when Nemo’s mom died and Nemo’s dad began to take care of him instead? That actually reflects the real life of the clownfish with their special ability of gender shifting. One clownfish is born as one gender with the capability of switching to the other if necessary. Clownfish usually live in a group where only two members are sexually mature while the rest are immature males. If something happens to the female, her male will transform into a female then selects the next biggest male to become her partner.


According to the researchers, frogs spontaneously change their genders from female to male and vice versa. As for male frogs, they can change their gender into females with completely and fully functioning reproductive organs. Such a thing occurs when the population does not have enough males to allow for procreation or when the temperatures change. There are several species of frogs that can do that, and it has become so common now.


As for hawkfish, the females can morph into males when conditions call for it. This happens when the harem’s male leader takes on too many females. So the largest female in the group will turn into a male hawkfish and split away with half of the harem. Cool, isn’t it? That does not end yet. If their new harem loses too many females or there is a larger male coming, the female-turned-male will revert back to female.

8Moray Eel

There are different species of moray eels, and all of them are animals that can change gender. Ribbon male moray eels switch to female by changing their colors which they later begin to fertilize eggs. As males, these eels are black with yellow in color then change to yellow or greenish-yellow when they become female. Once they successfully switched to females, they will live with that gender for the rest of their life.

In contrast, zebra and dragon moray eels switch from female to male. Such occasions occur when the number of males is not enough to reproduce. So some female will switch their gender to male to make sure that their species can go on living on earth.

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