ā muri ake

Bearded Dragons: A Transformation

From male to female.

Native to Australia, the Bearded Dragon is an omnivorous lizard that usually live 5 to 8 years, in the wild. Bearded dragons are known to collect water on their heads, as a means of survival in times of drought, and can even run at a human's speed.
Recently, however, something strange has been happening to this species.
During embryonic development, a phenomenon takes place.
Sex reversal, or sex change, has been determined to be caused by high temperatures. When researchers incubated eggs at over 89.6 degrees (Fahrenheit), they found that embryos with male sex chromosomes can change sex.
A similar situation has happened with sea turtles, where populations become 100% female at roughly 30.5 degrees (Celsius).

Two small sea turtles in Mexico.

Two small sea turtles in Mexico.

The big question, though, is how will this affect bearded dragons?
One possibility is that while Earth continues to warm, populations will become increasingly female. Eventually, the species may be extinct.
Another possibility is that bearded dragons may be able to adapt to the warming planet.

We have yet to see what will happen.

Endnotes:

Romps, David M., et al. “Projected Increase in Lightning Strikes in the United States Due to Global Warming.” Science, vol. 346, no. 6211, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Nov. 2014, pp. 851–54. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1259100.

David, Johnathan. “How Long Do Bearded Dragons Live? Bearded Dragon Lifespan Explained.” Everything Reptiles, Aug. 2022, www.everythingreptiles.com/how-long-do-bearded-dragons-live/?

“When It Gets Hot, These Bearded Dragons Change Their Sex.” The World From PRX, 3 July 2015, theworld.org/stories/2015-07-03/when-it-gets-hot-these-bearded-dragons-change-their-sex.

“Pogona Vitticeps (Central Bearded Dragon).” Animal Diversity Web, animaldiversity.org/accounts/Pogona_vitticeps.

Hannam, Peter. “Hotter Climate Could Turn Sea Turtles All-girl.” The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 2014, www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/hotter-climate-could-turn-sea-turtles-allgirl-20140518-38hy2.html.

Strom, Marcus. “How Cracking the Sex-change Code in Bearded Dragons Could Help Them Survive.” The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 June 2017, www.smh.com.au/technology/how-cracking-the-sexchange-code-in-bearded-dragons-could-help-them-survive-20170614-gwqohb.html.

Sawyer, Abigail. “Bearded Dragons Trim Down the Mystery of Reptile Sex-switching.” BioTechniques, Aug. 2020, www.biotechniques.com/news/bearded-dragons-trim-down-the-mystery-of-reptile-sex-switching.