The Categories for sex of organisms may need some editing

I have observed that the categories for sex are the same for plants as those of animals (‘male’, ‘female’, ‘cannot be determined’), which ignores the fact that monoecious plants (plants that have both an androecium and gynoecium, male and female whorls) exist, such as Hibiscus. It must also be considered that monoecious/hermaphodite animals exist(Earthworm, leech), as well as gynadromorphs(most commonly observed in birds and butterflies) and intersex animals. The ‘cannot be determined’ category appears to be of use only when sex of the organism is not known, rather than a catchall term for organisms that do not strictly fit into the categories of ‘male’ or ‘female’.


Every time I have to leave the sex annotation blank for pulmonate land snails, I do find myself wishing there was a category hermaphrodite.


Are there instances in which an hermaphrodite or monoecious species might not be hermaphrodite or monoecious? If yes, then those options definitely need to be included. If not, then what would be the purpose of identifying them since they are all of that one type? No one would ever have the need to filter Mockernut hickories by sex. It would be like having an annotation for “legs” for stick insects. They all have legs, so having that annotation wouldn’t add any information to the observation.

And, if you don’t actually see both reproductive structures with your own eyes, how do you know it’s not a rare variant (e.g. a male Mockernut hickory which is thought to only be monoecious)?


As far as I know, unisexual individuals are not known to crop up in hermaphroditic species. A google search yielded nothing but the suggestion that unisexual organisms evolved from monoecious organisms. Though I suppose it’s true that sex would be a redundant category to mention in a hermaphroditic species. For intersex organisms, though, they may be hard to identify in the first place, except maybe dimorphic gynandromorphs. But if identified, intersex and gynandromorphic could be relevant categories.

And also, yes, I guess rare variants could exist, or be unknown with respect to common knowledge. For example, most people think only male lions have manes, but maned female lions have been reported in Botswana

Annotations apply to very general groups, and they may not be applicable for every child taxon. For example, the Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard only has female individuals, but the sex annotation is still available because most reptiles species also have males. The sex annotations won’t be disabled just for that species—keeping track of all that would be a lot of work!

Same. But same sort of issue I suppose. Maybe hermaphrodite could be added as an option for mollusks?

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