Some corals change sex each year so they can find mates


Hammer coral, also known as anchor coral, in Lembeh Strait in Indonesia

Marli Wakeling/Alamy

When hammer coral says, “new year, new me”, it truly means it: many colonies of the coral species change their sex annually. The pattern seems to be a first among animals.

In 2011, Shinya Shikina at the National Taiwan Ocean University and his colleagues were surveying hammer corals (Fimbriaphyllia ancora) in the tropical West Pacific Ocean. The researchers discovered that many of the colonies had changed sex since the previous year.

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