Hermaphroditism: What’s not to Like?
AbstractMale and female social roles are largely predicated on the fact that male and female reproductive functions are separated in different individuals. This paper asks why gonochorism rather than hermaphroditism, is the rule among vertebrates. We argue that hermaphroditism may be unstable in the face of heterogeneity. Building on the Bateman principle – access to eggs, not sperm, limits reproductive success – and in line with Trivers-Willard, we show that low quality individuals will prefer to be all female. Moreover, without secondary sexual differentiation (SSD), males cannot exist in equilibrium. With sufficient SSD, however, males may outcompete hermaphrodites. As a result, while hermaphrodites may coexist with males and females, they mate among themselves only. The lack of interbreeding between hermaphrodites and gonochorists may form the basis for further speciation. Furthermore, while hermaphrodites strive to mate their male function and preserve their female function, equilibrium hermaphroditic mating is reciprocal. Reciprocal mating, in turn, makes hermaphrodites vulnerable to male-to-male violence, a form of SSD that may have contributed to the rarity of hermaphroditism.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series Marburg Working Papers on Economics with number 200604.
Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-09-03 (All new papers)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Evelyn Korn, 2007.
"Zerstört der Sozialstaat die Familie?,"
Marburg Working Papers on Economics
200705, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bernd Hayo).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.