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By my understanding, the chimera ant "sexs" are as follows:

  • A Queen can eat any animal (plants seem to be excluded) and produce children without mating.
  • A King can mate in order to produce a Queen.
  • All others are generally non-reproductive. If the Queen or King another ant is loyal to dies, however, they can go off to mate as the King does to produce a Queen.

A generally non-reproductive ant can have a traditionally male or female identy and appearance but this can likely be due to the food source. The original Queen does not have human female characteristics (as opposed to human male) besides those one would consider maternal.

Is there anything to indicate that the female appearing chimera ants any different from this pattern? The wiki does not know. The only female besides the queen to "reproduce" was Zazan who used a non-tradition means of reproduction which seems at least partially to be her Nen ability as opposed to something the other "female" ants could do.

I remember one other ant saying she was going to run off and become a queen but I don't think any details were given. The male appearing ones greatly out number the females but this seems consistent with the show as a whole.

  • Is this really an anime related question? – Baby Groot Oct 9 '14 at 6:45
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    @Re-L Yes, it is, as far as I can tell. Chimera Ants are a real species in Hunter x Hunter, and this question is essentially about their reproductive habits. There's some mention of real-world ants, but the question itself is very much about the in-universe ones. I can't say whether it's answerable or even makes sense in context (since I don't know much of anything about the series), but I don't see any indication that it's a fake question or not anime-related. – Logan M Oct 9 '14 at 7:51
  • Their reproductive habits are very important to the show as they reproduce quickly and are the current (where I am) primary antagonists. All of the living ants were born in the current arc and several have stated their primary motivation is to become kings or queens. It seems to be pretty important to the story as a sjngle reproductive female caused the entire world theatening situation. – kaine Oct 9 '14 at 11:36
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“Sex” and “gender” bear disparate meanings but many people accidentally conflate these words. In the technical distinction, “sex” is a neutral word referring solely to physiology including differences in brain chemistry and hormones, whereas “gender” refers to cultural constructions/assumptions about what personality traits best suit (or are innately connected to) a particular biological anatomy. The female Ants all seem to identify as female, meaning their gender is female, regardless of 1) whether or not they can reproduce and 2) whether or not they have any interest in reproduction of any sort. It is not clear whether or not they subscribe to a belief in gender essentialism and, even if they did, whether their brand of gender essentialism would include reproduction as the main, or even as a main, component of what "female" means to them.

The Queen and the other feminine Ants were all given female seiyuu (voice actors) and they speak in feminine Japanese. The Queen especially speaks in a very motherly, or perhaps, grandmotherly, fashion.

Hina (formerly known as Hirin) has a nen ability to remove curses that gives her the appearance of being pregnant. She does not comment on this visual appearance in regard to human pregnancy, but only to complain about her figure.

(As an aside, the feminine Ants do seem to roughly align with modern Western gender norms for females, but Japanese gender norms have historically differed significantly from Western ones. For example, the 11th century Heian era ideal man was a master of concocting perfume, wearing make-up, and penning love poetry, and in the present day you can often see young straight men styling each others’ hair in public, wearing numerous plushie Disney key chains dangling from their man purses, and dressed in pink and lavender — none of these practices are non-masculine in contemporary Japanese culture — whereas the culture does maintain extremely strict gender norms, copious self-segregation by gender, and rampant sexism.)

The fact that a Chimera Ant is female is not dependent on the prior human and/or animal who was/were eaten by the Queen also having been female. Many of them are an amalgamation from a number of humans/animals who were killed, which were likely a mix of males and females. The main illustration of this is Kite, who was a human male, was killed and apparently at least some part of him was eaten by the Queen (though much of his body was not eaten in order for Pitou to make her puppet), then was birthed prematurely as a female Ant, and insisted that her name was Kite from a young age. The characters specifically mention that the Ant Kite is a girl. Her appearance came from a random female villager killed by Koala, meaning it is likely that that girl's entire body was eaten by the Queen, but the resulting Ant retains the memories of Kite instead, even though only a small portion of Kite's body was eaten.

  • This is interesting input. It, of course, does not answer whether their sexes are different from the male gendered ants or I would have accepted it. What the hell would you call Kite? Gender: male; appearance since birth: female; reproduction: male?; sex: ....head explodes... – kaine Oct 14 '14 at 11:54
  • [I will have to use multiple comments for the length of my reply] Your comment seems to indicate that you may be conflating the words "sex" and "gender." The human Kite was male in sex (anatomy, and he could reproduce sexually with other humans, unless he happened to by chance be infertile as some people happen to be) and was male in gender (he considered himself male, masculine, etc., i.e. he identified as male). The Chimera Ant Kite is female in sex (the characters specifically state that she is a girl and all of her physical features support that claim), [to be continued] – seijitsu Oct 15 '14 at 8:41
  • is female in gender (she identifies as female) and she can reproduce - she is the new Queen, since 1) the former Queen is dead, 2) Meruem was either the King or was mistakenly presumed to be the King and as such he was assumed by the others to be able to reproduce, and 3) Kite is EITHER a twin of Mereum or is the true Queen (perhaps Mereum was not actually the King, although the other Ants presumed he was because they didn't know about Kite's existence as the youngest, newest of the Queen's offspring). It is possible that Kite is the Queen [to be continued] – seijitsu Oct 15 '14 at 8:42
  • (the child that the Queen intended to succeed her by giving her the best nutrients and traits) and that Mereum was not actually the King (that he was the most advanced of the royal guard, and that when he was born the Queen his mother assumed he must be the most special baby she had been nurturing, but she herself was unaware that she had conceived a newer child, which might be the one she actually input the most special traits into), since Kite seemed to be younger than him at the time of her premature birth, rather than his twin of the same age. [to be continued] – seijitsu Oct 15 '14 at 8:43
  • The Queen’s understanding had been that her newest, youngest child was to be her successor, and if that is what played out, it seems that Kite is that youngest one. Whether Kite is the true Queen in place of Mereum, or is a Queen twin of Mereum, she should be able to reproduce according to her kind, which is Chimera Ant kind (a form of animal of which its reproduction may or may not normally involve sexual intercourse in order to procreate). Her being female is irrespective of whether Chimera Ants use sex as a norm for procreation or whether that is not their primary or [to be continued] – seijitsu Oct 15 '14 at 8:45
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No, I think you got all the details in your post. From the information provided, as you say, the non-Queen females seem purely based on the fact that the humans they are derived from were female.

As to the one that said she was going to run off, if I remember correctly, it was more establishing a colony and asserting herself as the most dominant ant without any mention of reproduction.

  • I think you are likely right. I was just hoping someone here may know something from the manga or producer statements. I know nothing of these sources. 4 of the 8 known living ones (by my count) who could feasibly reproduce look female and 1's birth is closer to that of the king than a soldier. – kaine Oct 13 '14 at 13:05

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