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A species that starts asexual juvenile. Grows to become a mature asexual with time. The time is probably similar as with humans. A mature asexual becomes female or capable of producing eggs when exposed to male pheromones. A female becomes male or capable of fertilizing eggs if not exposed to male pheromones and socially dominant. Sometimes when a breeding group loses its male this results in more than one male. They can share or split the group.

The ratio of females to males is based on assuming that eggs require more energy than fertilizing them. The eggs would be fairly large and laid into a special nesting pool guarded by the male(s). Fertilization is external.

Noukuulneimians have strong K-strategy, the juveniles are raised together by the entire breeding group. Once the asexual matures it can no interact with males without becoming female and is thus banned from the nesting pool area. It will still be able to interact with the females and in fact the breeding group is supported by the work of its asexuals.

When a breeding group is short of females it scouts nearby friendly groups for asexual deserving consideration and then "marries" the one they prefer. This results in groups being closely connected to larger societies. It also means there is a built-in degree of controlled breeding. Most asexuals die as asexuals working for their family and only the chosen ones pass their genes on. With males isolated to the nesting pools, the families would probably be controlled by the females.

I am not going into details, but you can assume the Noukuulneimians to engage in large scale building projects to create the shallow water environments they prefer and have social organization and planning ability sufficient for large scale projects.

Finally, the actual question

How would this reproduction system affect society?

Would the wider society be guided by females networking with their siblings at other families? Or by asexuals working at larger scale organizations? Would there be value to private property in addition to family property when you presumably work for your family in hopes of "retiring" to another family? Is the answer different for asexuals and females? Say asexuals gather wealth to prove their value to possible families and then give it all to their new family. Any other effects I need to consider when I start thinking about the society?

If I get reasonable answers, I will do follow ups with physiology and ecology, so no need to speculate about them here.

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closed as too broad by MichaelS, Brythan, Frostfyre, AndreiROM, Burki Nov 23 '15 at 10:07

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you should consider asking each question in a different thread. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Nov 22 '15 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM I probably will, Brythan had a good point about that. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Nov 22 '15 at 23:08
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Would the wider society be guided by females networking with their siblings at other families? Or by asexuals working at larger scale organizations?

You say

A female becomes male or capable of fertilizing eggs if not exposed to male pheromones and socially dominant.

So males are more dominant than females, making this a patriarchal society. Both males and females are older (on average) than asexuals. Some asexuals might be more dominant than females. If so, they would tend to be promoted. Promotions bring them into contact with males, which causes them to become female. So females will generally be more dominant than asexuals (with some youthful exceptions).

It would seem that males would dominate both females and asexuals. Due to age, females would tend to dominate asexuals, but not always.

If you want your species to be dominated by females or asexuals, you should change the criteria for sexual changes. For example, you could change the criteria for male to being aggressive rather than dominant. That would be in keeping with the role that you describe as protective.

If you want the asexuals to be in charge, you might make the females the more submissive of the asexuals. The older asexuals would be the ones who dominate their own impulse to become female. Then the remaining asexuals would be the most dominant. The males would be aggressive but submit to the judgment of the asexuals, as they were all submissive females at one time. Without some mechanism like that, the females will tend to dominate the asexuals.

The natural thing would be for the old to dominate the young. Since females never become asexual and asexuals become female based purely on a physiological reaction, the females will tend to be older than the asexuals. So females should generally dominate the asexuals. If you change things so that males aren't the most dominant, this would leave females in charge.

So as described, males would dominate females who would tend to dominate asexuals. By changing the parameters a bit, you could pick any of the groups to be in charge.

Would there be value to private property in addition to family property when you presumably work for your family in hopes of "retiring" to another family? Is the answer different for asexuals and females? Say asexuals gather wealth to prove their value to possible families and then give it all to their new family.

This seems like a separate question. But just a quick comment: Females move from family to family in human society. How does that affect property rights there?

Any other effects I need to consider when I start thinking about the society?

And this seems like a third question.

Maybe edit the excess questions out of here and post them separately?

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this is more or less what I wanted and seems well reasoned. And no I don't want asexuals in charge or have any other preferences. I just wanted to know the likely consequences of this biological arrangement. You are probably right about it being better to split to multiple questions, but with each question the amount of info you need to read before answering increases... $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Nov 22 '15 at 18:09
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If the males protect the pools, what do they protect them from? Other males? If so, why when the search for new "wives" would they not instead fight for dominance of that nest? Is there resentment when one if taken from the close knit community? ie, could it start a war?

An important factor in the society will be if it is patriarchal or matriarchal. The dynamic of majority rule (female) or minority rule (male) will be very important.

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  • $\begingroup$ Originally they protected the nests from predators, now they stay there to protect the asexuals from male exposure and sex change. Males don't do the scouting and it would be done by talking with the neighbours. I guess if an asexual moved to a "family" its "family" hated, that could be unpopular enough to start a war. The majority is asexual. But yes, I guess they'd follow the same model the breeding group has between male/female in female/asexual case, good point. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Nov 22 '15 at 15:24
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Your question presupposes a lot of the answer. Banning asexuals from the nesting pool, scouting nearby groups for asexuals to convert to females, and groups being connected as larger societies are all driven by societal influences, not biological ones. (There may be a biological preference, but society isn't forced to use it.)

The reality is there's no limit to what kind of societies you can have based on the reproductive criteria you listed. You can have lots of males, or few males. Lots of females, or few. Lots of asexuals, or few. All depending on the mindsets of the people in the society. Each permutation of the above will itself have a vast array of possible social dynamics.

Also, note that your societal model could exist with human reproductive systems. Male children, in general, are killed at birth, leaving mostly females. Only a select few females are chosen to breed with the few males who are left. So if you want to use your model, maybe start by looking into a similar model with humans.

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  • $\begingroup$ Asexuals are not banned from the pool due to social influences, they are "banned" by mature asexuals becoming female if exposed to male pheromones. The gender ratios are likewise based on the biological model not social preferences. The intergroup things are social preferences, but the alternative to such practice is incest, which is generally thought to lead to increase in genetic disease and thus unlikely to be the less popular model. But sure, some Noukuulneimian societies would go that way (ones with no neighbours for sure!), I just did not ask about them. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Nov 22 '15 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ I actually did start with human model, then made the changes in reproductive biology of the species to make that model the default for the species. Now I want to think about how the changes in biology affect the society. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Nov 22 '15 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ That's not what you say in your question. You say they're still there, just not allowed to come to the breeding area, which makes them stay asexual. That's social. Biologically, there's nothing stopping them from staying in the breeding area and becoming female. Ergo, asexual numbers are based on social preferences. Females are biologically capable of leaving the area until they become male, and can be trained to become socially dominant to set off the required hormones. Ergo, male/female ratios are based on social preferences, not biology. $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Nov 22 '15 at 21:49
  • $\begingroup$ Similarly, if the biological default was for all asexuals to stay in the breeding area and become female, society could choose to kick them out and only select a few to become female. Same thing for male/female ratios. Biology could make dominant females tend to leave the brood to become male when there were too few males around, ensuring the male/female ratio stayed fairly balanced, then society could deliberately force them to behave as in your model. It's purely a social choice. $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Nov 22 '15 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ Because your model is in no way forced by biology, what you're really asking is "if society behaves under this model, what affect does that have on society?" which clearly becomes self-answering. $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Nov 22 '15 at 21:58

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