Cross-dresser | Life

Some male cuttlefish are too small to fight for a mate, so have to come up with a sneaky plan if they are to get their way with the girls. Approaching a cuttlefish couple a smaller male assumes the role of a female, tucking up his tentacles and changing colour in an attempt to fool the large male who stands guard over the female. The large male thinks his luck is in with two females after his attention and is completed fooled by the small newcomer. As long as he avoids being grabbed in the mating embrace the cross-dresser is safe. Surreptitiously the female who's not too picky, mates with the smaller, sneaky male right in front of the large male. The eggs she now lays will contain a mixture of sperm from both fathers, giving her eggs the best possible chance of success.

Clip Info
  • Clip length: 2'22''
  • Broadcast year: 2009
Curriculum Connection
  • Biology

Licence: ERA Licence required


UK only
Staff and students of licensed education establishments only
Cannot be adapted

  • Provider: BBC
  • Channel: BBC One
  • Programme: Life
  • Episode: Creatures of the Deep