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If the breeding female dies, her mate changes his sex to female and the next largest fish becomes a sexually mature male. (Don't think about that for too long, Disney fans.) Many flowers, on the other hand, are protogynous, meaning their female organs (the pistil) mature before their male organs (the stamen).

Those examples are just a sampling of nature's sex-changing smorgasbord: earthworms, sea stars, sea cucumbers, frogs, newts, salamanders, and many, many other types of fish all have some ability to change their sex. Doesn't it seem like nature had it pretty much figured out with the male-female dichotomy?

Hermaphroditism happens a few different ways in nature.

Simultaneous hermaphrodites—snails, for example—are born with both male and female sex organs, so any two members of the species can usually mate, or even fertilize themselves.

Overall, the above costs, combined with the obvious complexity of evolving the ability to produce male and female gametes, the ability to both fertilise and be fertilised, pregnancy and birth, and mating systems, mean that it is often more beneficial to be a dioecious species. I have been pondering this question for a while and I get what RG255 is saying. This should, in theory, minimize the inbreeding depression.If a hermaphrodite animal (like slug, snail, etc) finds a partner they can mate immediately. It is perhaps easiest to address the question by countering it and asking why dioecy (2 sex systems/2 gonochoric types e.g. As you have pointed out there are obvious advantages to being a hermaphroditic species such as more chance of mating - more likely to provide an advantage at very low population densities where interactions are infrequent.If another animal with "normal" reproduction (lets say a mouse) finds a partner they can only mate if they have the opposite gender. There are two key disadvantages of hermaphroditism which I will briefly cover but have been discussed in this paper and probably other costs. Maintaining the capacity to produce male and female gametes will be more costly than maintaining one.Clownfish like Nemo are protandrous, which means they're born male.They live in groups of two large fish—a breeding male and a breeding female—and many smaller fish.

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