In Australia, discovery of a reptile that changes sex when its partner dies

Some animals are really amazing! Employees of the Sea Life Aquarium in Melbourne (Australia) can attest to this after witnessing a biological phenomenon as rare as it is fascinating: the change of sex in a female forest dragon of Boyd (Lophosaurus boydii)!

The process began to occur right after the death of her partner: in a blog note published on December 18, the members of the team in charge of the small reptile indeed announced that the female has started to change her sex. after losing his partner.

In Australia, discovery of a reptile that changes sex when its partner dies
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They also indicated that they did not immediately notice the physical change in the animal, because the transformation took place gradually.

A fascinating transformation

The workers at the Sea Life Aquarium in Melbourne began to wonder when they noticed some pretty dramatic physical changes in Boyd's female forest dragon. For example, they observed the appearance of "a more pronounced crest and a yellow coloration" which, however, happens to be a male characteristic of this breed of reptile.

“After these changes, we also noticed a significant growth spurt and an increase in weight,” said Tom Fair, a member of the small animal team. “Since it's extremely rare to encounter reptiles in transition, we decided to bring in an ultrasound machine to find out exactly what was going on. We performed an ultrasound to determine which reproductive organs were present. Surprisingly, we found that there was no longer any ovarian tissue and mature testes had developed. This confirmed to us that a change of female reproductive organs into males had indeed occurred against all expectations ”

A phenomenon not that rare

This is the first time that a gender change phenomenon has been observed in Boyd's forest dragons. However, this is not a first for reptiles in general.

Indeed, about six years ago, researchers were able to observe the sex change of an Australian bearded dragon in its natural habitat. To cope with the heatwave, the reptile has gone from genetically male to female, with genitals and all the physical characteristics that go with it.

You should know that this kind of phenomenon is also common in fish, but also in amphibians. It just goes to show that nature will never cease to amaze us!

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