Main Difference – Protandry vs Protogyny
Protandry and Protogyny are two primary forms of sequential hermaphroditism occurring in many plants. Sequential hermaphroditism is the changing of the sex of an organism at some point in its life. It is found in many fish and gastropods. The third primary form of sequential hermaphroditism is serial bi-directional sex change in which the sex can switch back and forth between male and female. In botany, sequential hermaphroditism is known as dichogamy. Organisms which exhibit sequential hermaphroditism possess both male and female germ cells in the gonads. If not, a complete change in the gonadal type occurs during the last life stage of the organism. The main difference between protandry and protogyny is that protandry is the changing of the sex of an organism from male to a female whereas protogyny is the changing of the sex of an organism from female to a male.
This article looks at,
1. What is Protandry
– Definition, Characteristics, Examples
2. What is Protogyny
– Definition, Characteristics, Examples
3. What is the difference between Protandry and Protogyny
What is Protandry
Protandry is the condition in which an organism which begins its life as a male changes into a female. It is very much rare when compared to protogyny. The change of the sex occurs due to the social pressure dictates. Reef fish like clownfish are protandrous. Usually, a large female clownfish lives together with multiple male fishes. Protandry may also occur in hermaphrodites where mature sperms are produced prior to eggs, allowing cross-fertilization. This occurs in some hermaphrodite earthworms and crustaceans. Two common clownfishes are shown in figure 1.
In botany, it is the condition in which the male parts of the flower mature before its female parts. This condition is same as the proterandry. Male reproductive organs in the plant are stamens (androecium) whereas the female (gynoecium) reproductive organs are carpels. Protandry in plants prevents self pollination while promoting cross pollination. Protandry may also occur by the maturation of male flower first, and the female flower matures secondly. Protandrous flowers are ivy, salvia, rosebay willowherb, pecan, mints, and legumes. Protandrous flowers of Aeonium protandry are shown in figure 2.
What is Protogyny
Protogyny is the condition in which an organism which begins its life as a female changes into a male. It is very common when compared to protandry. Protogyny occurs in many reef fish like Labridae, Pomacanthidae, and Serranidae. It is mostly found in fish who display haremic lifestyle in which a large dominant male dictates and controls breeding. Protogyny may also occur by the maturation of female reproductive organs prior to the male reproductive organs, which is found in several invertebrates. A Labridae is shown in figure 3.
In botany, protogyny is the maturation of gynoecium of the flower prior to its androecium. It is the same as proterogyny. Protogyny also prevents self pollination while enhancing the cross pollination of a flower. It is found in apples, figworts, and pears. In protogynuos flowers like Schley and Elliott, female flowers mature and become receptive prior to male flowers. Altomata procumbens protogyny, which is a protogyny flower is shown in figure 4.
Difference Between Protandry and Protogyny
Protandry: Protandry is the condition in which an organism which begins its life as a male changes into a female.
Protogyny: Protogyny is the condition in which an organism which begins its life as a female changes into a male.
Protandry: Protandry is the production of mature sperms prior to eggs.
Protogyny: Protogyny is the production of mature eggs prior to sperms.
Protandry: Male flowers mature prior to female flowers in protandry.
Protogyny: Female flowers mature prior to male flowers in protogyny.
Protandry: Protandry is rare when compared to protogyny.
Protogyny: Protogyny is a very common type of sequential hermaphroditism.
Examples of Animals
Protandry: Protandry occurs in clownfish, earthworms, and some crustaceans.
Protogyny: Protogyny occurs in reef fish like Labridae, Pomacanthidae, Serranidae.
Examples of Plants
Protandry: Protandrous flowers are ivy, salvia, rosebay willowherb, pecan, mints, and legumes.
Protogyny: Protogynous flowers are apples, figworts, pears, Schley and Elliott.
Protandry and protogyny are two types of sequential hermaphroditism occurring in organisms like plants, fish, and gastropods. Sequential hermaphroditism occurs by a series of events changing the sex. In plants, protandry and protogyny are two strategies which prevent self pollination. Most reef fish exhibits both protandry and protogyny. Protogyny is very common when compared to protandry. The main difference between protandry and protogyny is in the changes of the sexes occurring in each process.
1.”Protandry.” Wordnik.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2017. </
2.”Protogyny.” Wordnik.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2017. </
3.TYK, Lemon, Jake Adams, and Guest Writer. “Sequential Hermaphrodites: Protandrous, Protogynous or serial bidirectional?” Reef Builders | The Reef and Marine Aquarium Blog. N.p., 08 Aug. 2016. Web. 08 May 2017. </
4.Graham, Charles, Bollich, and Patricia A. “What is the difference between a protandrous tree and a protogynous tree?” LSU College of Agriculture. N.p., 28 July 2006. Web. 08 May 2017. </>
1.”Ocellaris clownfish, Flickr” By Jenny from Taipei – Be careful honey….Uploaded by PDTillman (CC BY 2.0) via
2. “Aeonium protandry” By Nadiatalent – Own work via
3. “Labridae Prague 2012 2″By Karelj – Own work via
4. “Jaltomata procumbens protogyny”By Thomas Mione, Central Connecticut State University, Biology Department – Jaltomata research homepage via