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Zoologger: The lizard that changes its intercourse to match the weather

Zoologger: The lizard that changes its intercourse to match the weather

(Image: Arthur Georges)

Zoologger is our regular line highlighting extraordinary pets – and occasionally other organisms – from about the planet

Species: The main beardie (Pogona vitticeps)Habitat: Arid woodlands and deserts in Central Australia

If you can’t stay heat, modification intercourse. Male lizards from Australia become super-fecund females in hot weather.


Increasing conditions may lead to a intercourse change avalanche that pushes populations – and perhaps the whole species – towards a culture without adult men.

For a few reptiles, such as for instance numerous snakes and lizards, sex chromosomes trigger an embryo to produce as either a male or a lady. For other people, including crocodiles, alligators and marine turtles, intercourse depends upon heat, with extremes generally resulting in more females, perhaps by inhibiting male genes.

Bearded dragons show a 3rd method – a type of evolutionary transition between your two.

Like us, they will have intercourse chromosomes. A female for them it’s a Z and a W. Having ZZ chromosomes normally makes a male, and ZW. However if male eggs are confronted with conditions over 32 °C, this logic gets overridden. And even though their chromosomes are telling them become male, the warmth makes many ZZ embryos grow up as females.

We knew this from lab experiments, however it ended up beingn’t clear it had whether it occurred in the wild or what effect.

“No one knew whether this is planning to play a role in the populace, or if it had been a few freaky weird thing that occurs when it gets hot, ” says Clare Holleley through the University of Canberra, Australia.

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