Do any species have more than two sexes?

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Discover Wildlife - SB


The vast ma­jor­ity of sex­u­ally re­pro­duc­ing species have two gen­ders: males, which pro­duce tiny ga­metes (sperm or pollen) con­tain­ing only ge­netic ma­te­rial; and fe­males, which pro­duce large ones (eggs or ovules) that are also stocked with pro­vi­sions for the de­vel­op­ing off­spring. Th­ese rules are fla­grantly disregarde­d by fungi, how­ever. Some species are not dif­fer­en­ti­ated into males and fe­males at all, and can ex­change ge­netic ma­te­rial with any other in­di­vid­ual. Oth­ers have two ‘mat­ing strains’ (roughly equiv­a­lent to sexes) and some have many strains, only some com­bi­na­tions of which are re­pro­duc­tively com­pat­i­ble. A rare ex­cep­tion among an­i­mals is the har­vester ant Po­gon­o­myrmexx spp., which has two types of male. The sperm of one strain makes queens and the sperm of the other type makes work­ers.

Har­vester ant girls will be boys.

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