Three anemone clownfish swimming amongst anemones


Hermaphrodites have both male and female sex organs, either throughout their lives (homgamy) or that develop and mature at different points in their life cycle (dichogamy). Most dichogamous species, including many flowers and fish, change sex only once in their development. These organism still need another individual at the opposite stage for fertilisation. Homgamous species may be capable of self-fertilisation, but generally two individuals exchange sex cells and both are fertilised.

Watch video clips from past programmes (2 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

BBC News about Hermaphroditic

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.