Swinging both ways

Saturday 15 July 2000

It is now a well-known fact that many fish and other aquatic creatures change their sex during the course of their lives. But the peppermint shrimps are different: even after changing their sex, they continue to retain the features and functions of both the male and female. These shrimps dwell in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. They begin their lives as males. But later most change to females. This change is sudden and comes with a twist. "These 'females' retain their male ducts, produce sperm, and fertilise other female phase shrimps even when incubating their own embryos," says Raymond T Bauer, a biologist with the University of Louisiana, USA. Bauer calls them as simultaneous hermaphrodites ( National Geographic, Vol 197, No 3).

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top