cross dressing

Guys I think it’s time to talk about my favorite cuttlefish, the giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama)

Giant Australian cuttlefish gather in huge numbers in the Australian winter to mate.

There are way more males than females so competition is EXTREMELY intense.

They wrestle

Try to freak each other out with hypnotic color displays.  It’s great.

So naturally the smaller males don’t stand a chance in all this ruckus. So what do they do?  They cross dress. 

So the little males pull some color changing shenanigans and do their best impression of a female. And it works. The males generally have longer arms and have a different color pattern, so the sneaker males pull up their arms and adopt a more female color.

So called “sneaker males” will pull up their arms, put on a “female” color pattern, and meet up with the females.  Females often mate with the sneaker males and what’s EVEN CRAZIER is that the sperm from the cross-dressing males is used to fertilize a higher percentage of the eggs than the macho men. Since female cuttlefish mate with many males then choose which male’s sperm to use to fertilize the eggs, they must prefer these small clever males. You go little man!

(.gifs came from PBS’s NOVA episode Kings of Camouflage)