Q: What gender was Nemo?
** BUZZZZZ **
Q: Actually, neither (or both) in all likelihood. Juvenile clown fish are born as hermaphrodites who can become either males or females later in life.
Q: What gender is Nemo’s Dad?
A: Ok, definitely got this one. First, the “Dad” is grown up and no longer a juvenile. Secondly, “Dad” means he is definitely “male”.
**BUZZZZZ ** Actually, Nemo’s “Dad” might have been a “male” at one point, but the key word here is “is”. What is he today? In all likelihood he is now a “Mom”. It turns out that when a “harem” of clown fish loses its dominant female, the largest male changes its sex to become the new female.
Tonight concludes Series “L” of “QI” which means that the team are now in the process of researching Series “M”…for “Maldives”. Maldives Complete has a whole series of potential Maldives-oriented questions the QI staff could consider especially concerning the ubiquitous “Nemo” fame. The latest twist is this latest discovery of this perplexing creature…
“Some species exhibit sequential hermaphroditism. In these species, such as many species of coral reef fishes, sex change is a normal anatomical process. Clownfish, wrasses, moray eels, gobies and other fish species are known to change sex, including reproductive functions. A school of clownfish is always built into a hierarchy with a female fish at the top. When she dies, the most dominant male changes sex and takes her place. In the wrasses (the family Labridae), sex change is from female to male, with the largest female of the harem changing into a male and taking over the harem upon the disappearance of the previous dominant male. Natural sex change, in both directions, has also been reported in mushroom corals. This is posited to take place in response to environmental or energetic constraints, and to improve the organism’s evolutionary fitness; similar phenomena are observed in some dioecious plants.”