This chapter examines hermaphroditism in invertebrates. Hermaphroditism is widespread and common in invertebrates, having been documented in more than 65,000 species representing nearly 70 percent of more than 30 taxonomic phyla. Several hypotheses have been advanced for why invertebrates commonly evolve dual sexuality from separate sexes. One long-standing notion is that hermaphroditism tends to evolve when female investment in ova is constrained for some reason. Another and probably stronger hypothesis has to do with the fertilization insurance that hermaphroditism provides. A selfing hermaphrodite need encounter no one else to reproduce, and an outcrossing hermaphrodite need find just one other individual. Considerable circumstantial evidence is consistent with fertilization assurance being an important factor in the emergence and maintenance of hermaphroditism.
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