This Lizard is Capable of Changing Its Sex to Suit the Weather!


Meet the Australian central bearded dragon, a lizard that can change sex to suit the weather.

For the first time in history, scientists have observed sex reversal among reptiles in the wild.

The cold-blooded lizard, which is commonly found in the arid deserts and woodlands in eastern Australia, is capable of turning into a female at warm-egg incubation temperatures.

Previously, it was established that central bearded dragons have sex chromosomes. Instead of the X and Y chromosomes like in humans, these lizards have Z and W chromosomes. ZZ chromosomes produce males while ZW chromosomes result in females.

In the study, 131 adult lizards were examined by researchers from Canberra University in Australia. The field data revealed that 11 female lizards had a male set of chromosomes, making them genetically male.

Meet the Australian central bearded dragon.

bearded dragon

Photo credit: Mirror UK

The researchers then mated the sex-reversed females with normal males. The resulting offsprings didn’t have sex chromosomes and their sex was dependent on the incubation temperature of the egg. It was found that the offsprings are more likely to sex-reverse.

Moreover, the researchers discovered that the sex-reversed mothers laid almost twice as many eggs in a year compared to normal females.

For the first time in history, scientists have observed sex reversal among reptiles in the wild.

bearded-dragon2

Photo credit: Mirror UK

According to Dr. Clare Holleley, the study leader, sex-reversal has been demonstrated under laboratory conditions in the past. But it was the first time for them to observe such phenomenon to “occur naturally in a wild population of reptiles.”

Holleley added that the result of their study “adds to concern about adaptation to rapid global climate change.”

Source: The Telegraph


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