Glossary

Here we’ll keep a running list of the definitions we come across for terms related to sex and gender as they relate to the biology of organisms on earth.

PLEASE NOTE: we are studying gender and sexuality using a scientific/biological approach, so these definitions will differ from the typical definitions when these words are applied to social contexts. If you’re looking for definitions related to human gender and sexuality in society,  check out these great resources:

List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions

American Psychological Association 

Human Rights Campaign

Please also note that this is a work in progress 🙂

Term

black font = scientific/biological definition (including references)

grey font = definition without science lingo


 

All-female species

Asexually reproducing species; don’t require fertilization by a sperm (1)

definition

Asexual reproduction

Reproduction that does not require two different gametes (1)

definition

Female

An individual from a sexually reproducing species that produces large gametes/eggs (1)

definition

Feminine

Refers to traits that are possessed by most females in a species (1)

definition

Gamete

A haploid reproductive cell that can fuse with another haploid cell to form a zygote (2)

definition

Gender

In sexually reproducing species that produces both large and small gametes, gender refers to the appearance, behavior, and life history of a sexed body (1)

See masculine and feminine

definition

Hermaphrodite

An individual from a sexually reproducing species that produces both large and small gametes (egg and sperm) at some point in its life (1)

See sequential hermaphrodite and simultaneous hermaphrodite

definition

Male

An individual from a sexually reproducing species that produces small gametes/sperm (1)

definition

Masculine

Refers to traits that are possessed by most males in a species (1)

definition

Mating Type

Genetic categories of individuals that mate together in species that undergo sexual reproduction, but all individuals produce the same size gamete, and so there is only one sex (1)

definition

Sex (or sexed body)

In sexually reproducing species that produces both large and small gametes, sex refers to whether the individual produces large (female), small (male), or both sizes of gametes (hermaphrodites) (1)

definition

Sexual Reproduction

Reproduction achieved by gametes from two different parents to produce offspring (1)

definition

Sequential Hermaphrodite

An individual from a sexually reproducing species that produces both large and small gametes (egg and sperm) at some point in its life, but never at the same time (1)

definition

Simultaneous Hermaphrodite

An individual from a sexually reproducing species that produces both large and small gametes (egg and sperm) at the same time (1)

definition


References

  1. Evolution’s Rainbow:
  2. Biological Science, Second Edition.
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