Janet L. Over the last years, research has established that a sexual selection exists and is widespread in the plant and animal kingdoms; b it does not necessarily entail sexual dimorphism; even hermaphrodites have it; c it does not require intelligence or a sophisticated sense of esthetics; even tapeworms and plants choose mates; and d it does not require brawn or even mobility for competition; plants may compete for pollinators, and broadcast spawning invertebrates may also compete for matings. Although discussions of sexual selection often focus on sexual dimorphism, several phenomena that are commonly associated with sexual selection are widespread and highly developed in hermaphrodites. These phenomena include a bizarre and expensive courtship and copulatory behavior, b multiple mating and sperm competition, c rapid evolution of genitalia, d special structures associated with courtship, and e sexual polymorphism. The skewed breeding sex ratios associated with sequential hermaphroditism have long been recognized as contributory to sexual selection. In many simultaneous hermaphrodites, although the sex ratio at mating may be one to one, the actual reproductive sex ratio may also be skewed, creating a high potential for sexual selection.
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Sexual Conflict in Hermaphrodites
Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes , gonads , sex hormones or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights , "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". It was the first attempt at creating a taxonomic classification system of intersex conditions. Intersex people were categorized as either having true hermaphroditism , female pseudohermaphroditism , or male pseudohermaphroditism. Intersex people face stigmatization and discrimination from birth, or from discovery of an intersex trait, such as from puberty. This may include infanticide, abandonment and the stigmatization of families.
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Hermaphrodites combine the male and female sex functions into a single individual, either sequentially or simultaneously. This simple fact means that they exhibit both similarities and differences in the way in which they experience, and respond to, sexual conflict compared to separate-sexed organisms. Here, we focus on clarifying how sexual conflict concepts can be adapted to apply to all anisogamous sexual systems and review unique or especially important aspects of sexual conflict in hermaphroditic animals. These include conflicts over the timing of sex change in sequential hermaphrodites, and in simultaneous hermaphrodites, over both sex roles and the postmating manipulation of the sperm recipient by the sperm donor.
For example, the great majority of tunicates , pulmonate snails, opisthobranch snails , earthworms , and slugs are hermaphrodites. Hermaphroditism is also found in some fish species and to a lesser degree in other vertebrates. Most plants are also hermaphrodites.
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