I want to note that the way the sex binary looks like it’s present throughout the animal world is that white scientists have a terrible habit of labeling everything “male” or “female” even when it makes no sense.
Like, by any reasonable metric, bees have three sexes: drone, queen, and worker. Workers are only labelled female because someone couldn’t abide the idea of something not being either one or the other.
And before someone calls “genetics” there are many species where both sexes have the exact same genetics, and even many where individuals can change reproductive capacity at will, and scientists suddenly have no problem calling the ones who grow eggs “female” even though they were “male” two weeks ago.
Some species of mammals reproduce asexually. They have only one sex. It is still called “female” because it makes babies even though one might reasonably ask why even make the distinction when every single individual makes babies just the same.
Mostly true except I don’t think there are any parthenogenic mammal species out there. OP was probably thinking of these lizards.
ehhhhhhhhh this post is kind of a mess
in biology, we defines the male/female sexes across all species as being: 1) males have the smaller, usually mobile gamete; and 2) females have the larger, non-mobile gamete. female gametes are large and non-mobile because of all the nutrition they carry, so by extension, females are also the sex with the higher reproductive burden.
hermaphroditic species are species where all individuals in a population possess both the male and female physiology necessary for sexual reproduction (simultaneous hermaphrodites) or can change sex later in life, usually in an attempt to increase reproductive success (sequential hermaphrodites). we recognize the “female” as who produces the egg in a reproductive episode
the genetic structure of diploid species and its relationship to males/females is unique to each species. in humans, males are heterogametic for the x chromosome; females, are homogametic for it. however, in birds and butterflies, the heterogametic individuals (ZW) are females and homogametic (ZZ) are males. genetics aren’t a good way of classifying male/females because it isn’t a standardized system across species and because an individual can have multiple copies of the sex chromosomes and be physiologically male/female sexed, depending on the phenotype produced
the reason why worker bees are still classified as female it is because of genetic structure of the species. bees/ants/wasps have a haploiddiploid structure, which means that all males of the species have only one one set of genes (from one parent because their eggs are not fertilized) but females have two sets of genes (from two parents because their eggs are fertilized). the only difference between a queen bee and other female worker bees is that she is fed extra food and develops into sexual maturity, while her sisters won’t.
you can argue a lot about trying to force our current gender binary constructions onto the animal world as far as behavior goes; but the sex binary exists in sexually reproducing species as an inherent part of the construct. there is one type that has the sperm and one that has the egg. we assign these types words so we can talk about them, not because we are trying to enforce the same sex and gender constructs we have in humans onto the rest of the animal world