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February 19, 2010


Thom H.

That's interesting. I originally guessed the opposite before I read the comment. Isn't large female, small male more common? Or have I been misled simply because the cases of female/male size disparity are popularized?


It depends on the particular species and the details of their life history. There are species with larger males that fight for territory and access to smaller females (like elk or lions), species with large females and tiny males (like many spiders or deep-sea anglerfish), species where the two sexes are about the same size (like garden snails or Canada geese), and species where size change eventually leads to a sex change. As it turns out, the size difference in schistosomes changes with the variable you measure: females are a bit longer than males, but males are a bit thicker than females.

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  • Diane A. Kelly
    Diane Kelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she studies the neural wiring and mechanical engineering of reproductive systems.
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