Sexual Dimorphism

Sexual Dimorphism is the physical differences in male and female animals that do not include their reproductive organs.  While it is often hard to tell the gender in many animals, sexually dimorphic animals have many ways to distinguish themselves from male and female.

Size. Also sometimes called size dimorphism. Many animals are much larger than their female (or male) counterpart.

  • Monitor Lizards: Male monitor lizard can continue to grow long after the female stops growing and can weight almost three times more than a full-grown female.
  • Frogs: Female frogs are often much larger than male frogs in order to store her eggs


Color. Many males of the species will often have bright or more colorful markings. These are often used to attract a mate.

  • Ducks: Female ducks have brown feathers, while male ducks (or drakes) have green feathers on their heads.
  • Mandrills: Male Mandrills have colorful blue and red markings on their face.

Ornamental:  Along with colors, male animals can often have other physical attributes to distinguish them from a female.

  • Deer: Male deer have large antlers that they use for defense, and fighting over other females.
  • Elephant Seals: Males have long snouts they can inflate as a sign of aggression.


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