There’s lots of news about trans rights these days many times the debate turns to what is “natural.” It’s important to remember that in the animal kingdom the idea of gender is all over the spectrum. Consider these little guys, they’re called Chalk Bass and the change gender every 20 minutes.
The natural world offers many curiosities, but hermaphroditism—the presence of both male and female reproductive organs—may be among the most peculiar.
Take the chalk bass (Serranus tortugarum), for instance. New research published in Behavioral Ecology suggests that the small reef fish, no more than three inches long, may switch sex roles with their partner up to 20 times each day.
Chalk bass use a reproductive strategy known as “egg trading,” wherein they subdivide their daily egg clutch into “parcels” and alternate sex roles with their mating partner throughout a sequence of spawning bouts.
The natural world offers us all kinds of diversity. From lesbian monkeys to hermaphroditic fish, it’s a great big old world out there. Turns out hermaphrodites are everywhere in nature but not dynamic as the Chalk Bass.
Most hermaphrodites transition from one sex to another at some stage in their development, a strategy known as sequential hermaphroditism. The transformation is usually prompted by a social or behavioral trigger, like the loss of a dominant male from the social group. The chalk bass, however, is capable of producing both male and female gametes (sperm or eggs) simultaneously.
These fish maybe genderbending but when it comes to mating they sound a bit like humans.
Though not fully monogamous—mating is often interrupted by male streakers that try to shoot between the mating couple—the fish returned to their partners day after day, for months at a time.