Meaning Behind the Word: Dimorphism

Dimorphism refers to the occurrence of two distinct forms within a single species. This phenomenon can manifest in various aspects of living organisms.

Sexual Dimorphism

In biology, sexual dimorphism is a common occurrence where males and females of a species exhibit noticeable differences beyond their reproductive organs. These differences can include size, coloration, or physical characteristics.

Plant Dimorphism

Plants also display dimorphism. For instance, in some plant species, there is a leafy, non-reproductive form and a specialized reproductive form, each serving different functions in the plant's life cycle.

Animal Dimorphism Examples

Here are some examples of animal dimorphism:

  • Antlers: Male deer often exhibit antlers, while females do not.
  • Plumage: Male and female birds may have distinct colorations for various purposes, such as attracting mates or camouflaging during nesting.

Advantages of Dimorphism

Dimorphism can confer evolutionary advantages. In the case of sexual dimorphism, it may be related to reproductive strategies, while in plants, it allows for specialized roles in different stages of the life cycle.


Understanding dimorphism provides insights into the diverse strategies that species employ for survival and reproduction. Whether in the animal kingdom or the plant world, this phenomenon showcases the adaptability and complexity of life forms.

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