DD title

DD picture One of the interesting things that you can see in nature is how different the males are from the females. In some cases males are larger than females, usually for protection purposes. In other cases the females may be larger and may actually be more dominant. When you start studying small animals you find remarkable exceptions.

On the ocean floor there is an organism called the green spoonworm (Bonellia viridis) where the male is 200,000 times smaller than its mate. He spends his life inside the female’s reproductive tract and regurgitates sperm through his mouth to fertilize the female’s eggs. When they were first discovered, scientists thought the male was a parasite.

How the males come into existence is another one of those things which are so remarkable it is hard to believe. A green spoonworm larva has no sex when it hatches. It becomes a male or a female depending upon what it encounters during its first three weeks of life. If the larva encounters a female, it turns into a male and takes its position in the female’s reproductive tract. If it does not find a female, it turns into a female itself. Its sex is determined by environmental factors rather than genetic factors (chromosomes) as in most creatures.

God has designed life with a wide variety of methods of propagating itself. All living things have a great capacity to produce offspring, and that is why we continue to have life on the planet. The green spoonworm lives in crevices on the ocean floor, and having a mate in her body makes reproduction easy and prolific. Being at the bottom of the food chain, this provides for an ecosystem that needs a wide base of food sources. As we learn more about how ecosystems function, we see a wonder-working hand has gone before and provides in remarkable ways for all living things.

Source: Seed magazine 2009, and http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bonellia_viridis&oldid=396808901

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