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November 28, 2016 at 5:12 am

gen·der bend·er

1. a person who dresses and behaves in a way characteristic of the opposite sex.

Gender-Altering Animals Posted by Liz Langley in Ocean Views

“From the theater of ancient Greece to talent show TV, humans have a long and storied history of dressing up as the opposite sex.

But we’re not the only animal that’s good at gender alteration. We recently told you about female market squid who flash fake testes, probably to put the kibosh on unwanted male attention. Here are some creatures who are great at pulling a sexual switcheroo.

Anemonefish, Parrotfish, and Hawkfish. Some animals don’t just appear to change genders—they actually turn into the opposite sex. Clown anemonefish all start out as male. If the female dies, the dominant male can change sex and become female. Another male will become the dominant male.

In Manitoba, Canada, which has the highest concentration of garter snakes in the world, males emerge from hibernation slowly and groggily after eight months in the chilly ground. Pokey they may be, but they’re still on high alert for females to mate with. Some males, though, mimic female behavior at this time.

Spotted Hyena. It’s not just the males of the animal kingdom that adopt opposite sex traits. Female spotted hyenas are socially dominant, larger, and more aggressive than the males.

But it’s not only their behavior that’s masculine. Their clitoris is so enlarged it’s often referred to as a pseudo penis. It’s capable of erection, and the female has sex, urinates, and gives birth through it. Females also have a structure that looks remarkably like a scrotum. Even close up, it can be hard to distinguish a female from a male.

There are theories but no definitive reason for the female hyena’s pseudo penis.

“OMG, cool!” probably doesn’t count.

Parrotfish start out as male or female but have sex organs of both sexes; they are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they can change from female to male. Some females will become supermales: larger males with brilliant, lively coloring.

Hawkfish in the wild have been shown to be capable of “bi-directional” sex change, going from female to male and back again”