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Clinging to rocks and to each other, they form piles. If another limpet attaches itself on top of the male limpet, the newcomer becomes male, and the male limpet beneath it reverts to being female.
These slipper limpets show the evolutionarily advanced feature of internal fertilization, and the male on top extends his reproductive organ down the pile of females below him to fertilize their eggs.
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In other animals sex is often determined by environmental factors and can be a variable phenomenon.
In a species of slipper limpet (), a kind of mollusk, all individuals begin life as females.
Thanks to high school biology, we are accustomed to thinking of the sex of an organism as being determined by the chromosomes, notably the sex chromosome in humans (designated X or Y).
But this is not the whole story, and it applies universally only to mammals and birds.