An easy way to stir the pot with people is to bring up gender roles. Many believe that gender is fluid, and one should not get confined to the role given at birth. The argument has many truths and valid points. Animals also provide a reason to understand this stance that individuals take to heart. Did you know that there are animals that change from male to female naturally? Read through to find out how animals and insects break the gender norms. You’d be surprised to see how similar these creatures are to humans and what we can learn from them.
Clownfish Have Mastered The System
LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images
These underwater creatures are all born as males, but things get interesting as their lives go on. A female fish leads the clownfish, but how is this possible if they’re all born male?
Whenever the lead female fish dies, the next biggest male then becomes a female and takes over. Clownfish is one of the few species that are capable of changing genders and are led by the female.
Komodo Don’t Need A Man
ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images
Some women of the world might be able to relate to the female Komodo dragon more than they think. This female lizard is capable of laying eggs and creating offspring without a male mate. There is no exact number on how many raise their children without a male present, but we imagine they’re out there.
There are many single women who take care of their children every day without a father present. Of course, having both parents available is the best option, but one should never feel they need their counterpart. These dragons are doing just fine.
The Jacanas Reverse Roles
Jie Zhao/Corbis via Getty Images
The male jacanas are the best fathers of any tropical bird. While the females get to relax a bit more, the males incubate the eggs and raise their offspring. Meanwhile, the female jacanas are far from nurturing.
Not only are the female jacanas not tending to the little ones, but they travel off and mate with dozens of other males. Along the process, the female jacanas also kill rival ladybirds. It’s considered flattering, but let’s hope the little ones don’t know what mom is up to.
A Mantis Must Keep Its Head On A Swivel
Andia/UIG via Getty Images
Something humans don’t see much of is the female being bigger than the male. Guys naturally dwarf women with some exceptions around the world. That is not the case for the praying mantis.
The male mantis is often way smaller than the female mantis. This trait leaves the male with a sense of insecurity because it allows the female mantis to eat their mate’s heads after they do the deed. It isn’t all the time, but more often than not.
Watch Where You Hatch The Bearded Dragon
The bearded dragon is another animal capable of switching genders. Unlike the clownfish, these reptiles change while in the egg. This only happens if the temperature is warm enough during egg incubation. The males turn into females, but not so cleanly.
While they maintain male genetics, they go about their lives acting like females and reproduce like them. They even lay double the number of eggs as the typical female. And thanks to the rising global temperatures, the sex reversal is happening more often.
She’s Killer And She Runs Things
Julie Picardi / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
In the killer whale community, the females run things, and no one complains. And the males must be assertive at all times or else the lady orcas will easily take charge of the group. And that’s something they usually do.
The older female orcas are also the ones to guide the group to source food. The female orcas are essentially the reason why the family stays alive. Up next, a species where the females aggressively chase intercourse.
Fellas, Better Watch Out For Her!
Frank Liu / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
The societal narrative is that men need to be the go-getters. They are the gender that approaches the ladies first, as far as traditional courtship goes. While this is mostly true, the female Topi antelope goes against the grain big time.
While they are not promiscuous so to speak, the females get aggressive when it’s time to mate. Making the first move is nothing, they also bother the males for intercourse so much that the men have to fight them off sometimes. Imagine seeing that in the club.
Who Needs A Man?
Arterra/UIG via Getty Images
It’s no secret that snakes are deceptive creatures. Their abilities easily solidify that statement. Much like the Komodo dragon, some female snakes like Copperheads can give a virgin birth. They do not need their male counterpart to conceive an offspring.
This means that they have the power of both male and female reproductive functions at the same time. The secret is a particular cell called a polar body. It’s produced with an egg and sometimes acts like a sperm to fertilize.
The Unnatural Change Of Frogs
RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images
Frogs are interesting creatures, but not by nature. They perform gender changes because of environmental influences. Scientists have noticed frogs transitioning from male to female for some time, but now they are observing it in the wild.
When they make the switch, frogs develop all of the functioning reproductive features as well. The reason behind this is a weed killer called atrazine. The product was banned in Europe but has already entered several river streams and lakes. It reduced testosterone and dramatically boosted estrogen.
The Democracy Of African Buffalo
Godong/UIG via Getty Images
These buffalo are similar to the killer whales discussed earlier. That means being a female African buffalo can be stressful. They are in charge of deciding where and how the herd moves, and they handle it like a democracy.
For example, each female buffalo take turns standing up and looking towards a direction of interest. The whole group will then follow in that direction. It doesn’t sound like much, but the males must trust them enough to allow the females to take charge.
The Bilateral Cardinal
Mark Challender /Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Feather colors identify the northern cardinal’s gender. The light brown-gray color you see the bird pictured indicates that it’s a female. If the feathers are bright red, then it is male. What makes the northern cardinal so interesting is their ability to be two genders at once.
If the cardinal’s color has a split between the brown-gray and red, then it is a case of bilateral gynandromorphism. This is a rare occurrence, so don’t go out looking for them.
The northern cardinal isn’t the only species that gets the split color treatment. Gynandromorphism also exists in butterflies as you see in the image above. It happens when a genetic error occurs during early cell division. This causes male and female traits to be set up over the body with one side male and the other female.
This effect happens with crustaceans, birds, insects, and butterflies. The brown side on this butterfly is the female while the blue is male.
Can You Spot The Difference With This Hyena?
The spotted hyena is another animal that laughs at the idea of males being more dominant than the females. The female spotted hyena is both stronger and more aggressive than the male. They also both carry almost identical genitals.
It is nearly impossible to tell the difference in gender with the naked eye. This means if you’re trying to determine if its boy or girl by how it acts, you better reverse your train of thought, or you might be looking at a female thinking it was a male.
Let The Man Do It
Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
The seahorse is another wonderous sea creature. While many male beings tend to their offspring in loving ways, the male seahorse takes things to another level. As part of the mating process, the male will take the eggs from the female and fertilize them.
It doesn’t stop there. They will also carry the eggs until they hatch. If human men had the option to do that, we wonder how many would step up to the plate to alleviate the stress from their partners.
The Clever Cuttlefish
Reinhard Dirscherl\ullstein bild via Getty Images
Girls are supposed to like pink and boys like blue. Young boys and some adult men wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a feminine color like pink or even purple. The cuttlefish can’t empathize with this. In fact, these fish embrace the female color.
Cuttlefish are disguise masters. They change their color so they can appear to be female whenever they are around rival male fishes. Around females, they keep half their body as it is and the other half female colored.
Banana Slugs Love Themselves
The banana slug is a hermaphrodite. A hermaphrodite means the slug carries male and female sex organs. And by “love themselves” we mean they typically like mating with themselves. That is a trait that might be helpful for every endangered species.
Having this capability doesn’t indicate that they only mate with themselves. The banana slug prefers mating with others, but sometimes it comes with a steep cost. One of the slugs sometimes chews off the male private part afterward.
The Genius System With Bonobos
GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images
One thing that can set off a person more than anything else is when the opposite sex shows interest in your partner. Jealousy, betrayed trust, and plenty of other things entice this, but the bonobos have something special going on.
These apes get led by the female, and every ape has intercourse with everyone. Female on a female, male on female, and male on male action goes down in the bonobo’s kingdom. They seem to live in peace, so no one is stopping them.
These Female Birds Prefer Each Other
Larry Armstrong/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
These are the Laysan albatrosses birds. All the women involved with another woman will appreciate these winged creatures. Not only are they adorable, but they tend to mate in female pairs. And not just one time, this can go on for life.
National Geographic reported that “On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, for example, 31 percent of the pairs are same-sex couples.” The scientists thought they were always male on female interactions until they examine closer and found out the females would mate with one another.
Moray Eels’ Colorful Transformation
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullsteinbild via Getty Images
Many moray eels remain the gender they were born their whole lives. That is, except for the ribbon morays like you see above. These colorful eels switch from male to female, but unlike the clownfish, all of them do it.
All of them are born as a male, but after a colorful transformation, they become female. The eel starts out as small and black with streaks of yellow. As the eel grows older and bigger, they turn yellow and get the female reproductive organs.
If They Choose To, Then It Will Happen
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullsteinbild via Getty Images
The hawkfish is one of the few species on this list that changes out of desire and not because it happens on its own. They start out as female but can switch to male if the conditions call for it.
Usually, this only happens when the male leader gets ahead of himself and takes on too many females. Thus leaving the largest female in the group to turn male and take half of the ladies with him.