New Research Shows Antarctic Mollusc Males Become Female

Written by on September 14, 2012 in Marine Life

Researchers from the National Oceanography Center in Southampton have discovered that Antarctic molluscs (bivalves) switch sex in order to more efficiently reproduce in the frigid waters.

The reproduction of this mollusc, Lissarca miliaris was described in the 1970s but according to lead author and PhD student Adam Reed, it “only looked at the large eggs and broods.”

During their research, they found that males were carrying large numbers of eggs. They suggested that the bivalves may reproduce as males while they are still young, and switch to female organs as they mature and grow large enough to hold all the eggs.

“We also found that after males become female, the male reproductive tissue persists for a long time,” he said.

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Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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