Created By: Lullabee on December 8, 2017 Last Edited By: AHI-3000 on February 20, 2018
Troped

Either/Or Offspring

Interspecies Romances produce children of either species, but no hybrids. Supertrope of Gender Equals Breed.

Name Space:
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Page Type:
trope
In some works, the children of Interspecies Romance are always, or almost always, the same species as one parent or the other. You can breed a cat and a dog, but you'll only get puppies and kittens rather than catdogs. Or, at least, if you do get a catdog, it'll be unusual and unexpected, rather than the normal standard expected result of reproduction between compatible organisms (weirdly enough). The organism's species is apparently controlled by one specific gene. This seems a bit weird genetically, but in a setting where interspecies reproduction is common it allows for recognizable species instead of having a bunch of catdogfishbirds running/swimming/flying around the place. It provides a sort of Hybrid Overkill Avoidance.

This is a Supertrope of Gender Equals Breed, but applies to cases where the offspring's breed doesn't necessarily match up to their genders. (Examples of Gender Equals Breed don't need to be listed here as well.) This is also a Super Trope to Dominant Species Genes, where offspring always inherit the dominant species.

This is also more or less an inversion of All Genes Are Codominant. Compare Random Species Offspring, where the offspring's species is way different from their parents' species.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In One Piece, when fishmen and merfolk have children, the child will either be a pure fishman or a pure merman/mermaid, not a hybrid, due to the special genetics of their breed. Incidentally, it seems that are many more fishmen than fishwomen and many more mermaids than mermen.

Comics

Literature
  • The Elder Scrolls In-Universe Books: As said in Racial Phylogeny, a.k.a Notes on Racial Phylogeny:
    After much analysis of living specimens, the Council long ago determined that all "races" of elves and humans may mate with each other and bear fertile offspring. Generally the offspring bear the racial traits of the mother, though some traces of the father's race may also be present.

Tabletop Games
  • In the systemless Zodiacs campaign guide, it is mentioned that any child has roughly a 3 in 4 chance of being the same species as their mother.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones:
    • Vectors are, essentially, a genetically engineered race of Funny Animals (with minor variations allowing for both Little Bit Beastly and Talking Animals). However, their creators explicitly included 'mutt reduction blocks' in their genetic code; a child of a cat and a dog has about a forty-five percent chance of being either a cat or a forty five percent chance of being a dog, and a ten percent chance of being either one of the other many races or having a mutation their parents didn't (which does include hybridization of the parent races as a possibility).
    • Cogs, the Ridiculously Human Robots of the setting, have reproductive capabilities compatible with Vectors. Either translating Vector genes into Cog blueprints or vice-versa. Though, generally, the kids have to be the same "substrate" as their mother, the "womb" mod was a PR disaster.
  • Pathfinder: Hags — a humanoid species based off of fairytale witches — are Always Female, and thus need to mate with humanoids, monstrous humanoids or fey to reproduce. The female children resulting from these unions are always hags, while the male children are members of the father's species, albeit sterile and appearing... wrong, somehow. This is in contrast to Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder's Spiritual Predecessor, where the hags originate from and where the results of hag/other unions are either a) Always Female and always hags, or b) result in female children who become hags and male children who become hulking, misshapen monsters called hagspawn, with little resemblance to their father's species.

Video Games
  • Pokémon. The child of two different Pokemon will always be the same species as the mother, unless the mother is a Ditto.
  • In Mass Effect's monogendered asari species, any reproductive pairing will end up with the child being asari as well. This is because asari do not reproduce sexually like other species, but instead use their finite control over their nervous system to copy part of their partner's genetic code into their daughters', which is then carried to a full-term pregnancy as would be expected of a near-human humanoid.
  • In Solatorobo: Felineko and Caninu can interbreed, and the children are either Caninu or Felineko.
  • Dragon Age; The offspring of a Human and an Elf is always Human. Known as "Elf-Blooded", these humans show no signs of their mixed origins (no physical or magical differences from other Humans), but are still ostracized by both races. By Humans because they feel Humanity Is Superior, and by Elves because they're a living reminder of the fact that their race is slowly dying out.

Web Comics
  • In Precocious, Bud is a Scottish fold like his mother, while his older sister is a white American shorthair like their dad.
  • Even though the four races (Spades, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds) from Alice and the Nightmare can marry and have children, the children are neither more than one suit. For example, Dee and Dum and Edith are biological siblings, but Edith is a Diamond and Dee and Dum are Hearts.

Web Original
  • In Chakona Space Chakats, Skunktaurs, and Stellar Foxtaurs are all reproductively compatible but don't hybridize, rather their cubs are the same species as the mother (though they are all hermaphrodites to some extent). Though, Chakats sired by Skunktaurs tend to inherit their fathers' Psychic Powers to varying extents.

Western Animation
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, children whose parents are different species seem to be either parent's species at random. Hector's dad is mentioned to be a giant like him, but his mother is a human-sized witch. Gumball is the same species as his mom (a cat), his sister is the same species as his dad (a rabbit). Jamie's father is probably the same species as her (albeit with Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism) but her mother, the giant cube-shaped gym coach, is probably something completely different. Richard is a rabbit like his mom, but it turns out his dad is a rat (who otherwise looks extremely similar).
  • Wakfu invert Gender Equals Breed with Evangelyne and Sadlygrove's children, as each kid is the same race as their opposite sex parent.
  • In Bojack Horseman, offspring of human/animal couples (or different species of animals) follow this trope.
    • When Bojack Horseman dreams about having a daughter with his deer ex-girlfriend Charlotte, their child is a horse. But Charlotte's real-life children with her actual (human) husband are a deer daughter and a human son.
    • When Diane (a human) has an (aborted) pregnancy due to her husband Mr. Peanutbutter (a dog), it's implied that she was expecting a puppy at the time.
    • When Princess Carolyn (a cat) gets pregnant, she and her mouse fiance Ralph wonder if the baby will be a cat or a mouse.
    • There's also Bojack's half-sister Hollyhock, who has a human mother, but she's a horse (because she and Bojack both share the same horse father).
  • Some members of the four different races in The Legend of Korra can each "bend" (control) a classical element (Air, Water, Earth, or Fire), but only the Avatar is able to use all four elements; so children of mixed parentage can either control one element (each), or none at all.
    • Best demonstrated by the children of Aang (an Avatar with Air as his native element) and Katara (a master of the Water element); who both have a non-bender son, a water-bender daughter, and an air-bender son. Though the lone son without elemental powers suddenly becomes an air-bender thanks to a worldwide supernatural incident, which strongly implies that he had the air-bending genes the whole time. Each of the children's powers also all strongly correlate with Gender Equals Breed.
    • Mako and Bolin are two brothers born to a mother and father from the Fire and Earth nations respectively, and thus Mako is a fire-bender and Bolin is an earth-bender. Unlike the above example, there's no correlation between their sexes and elements.

Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • December 8, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    Tabletop Games
    • Pathfinder: Hags — a humanoid species based off of fairytale witches — are Always Female, and thus need to mate with humanoids, monstrous humanoids or fey to reproduce. The female children resulting from these unions are always hags, while the male children are members of the father's species, albeit sterile and appearing... wrong, somehow. This is in contrast to Dungeons And Dragons, Pathfinder's Spiritual Predecessor, where the hags originate from and where the results of hag/other unions are either a) Always Female and always hags, or b) result in female children who become hags and male children who become hulking, misshapen monsters called hagspawn, with little resemblance to their father's species.
  • December 9, 2017
    Lullabee
    @Theriocephalus - that sounds more like Gender Equals Breed... except I guess the "Always Female and always hags" case is the same as the Asari example, which I feel like isn't just a case of Gender Equals Breed. So, fair enough.

    Your example isn't listed under Gender Equals Breed yet, anyway — do you wanna add it there?
  • December 13, 2017
    zarpaulus
    Compare Dominant Species Genes

    Tabletop Games
    • Also from Hc Svnt Dracones: Cogs, the Ridiculously Human Robots of the setting, have reproductive capabilities compatible with Vectors. Either translating Vector genes into Cog blueprints or vice-versa. Though, generally, the kids have to be the same "substrate" as their mother, the "womb" mod was a PR disaster.

    Web Original
    • In Chakona Space Chakats, Skunktaurs, and Stellar Foxtaurs are all reproductively compatible but don't hybridize, rather their cubs are the same species as the mother (though they are all hermaphrodites to some extent). Though, Chakats sired by Skunktaurs tend to inherit their fathers' Psychic Powers to varying extents.
  • December 9, 2017
    AGuy
    For the Pokemon example, that's not necessarily true. Certain species breeding, such as Miltank (always female) and Tauros (always male), can result in offspring of either of those species.
  • December 9, 2017
    AGuy
    I suck at formatting, please ignore that.
  • December 9, 2017
    Malady
    Literature.The Elder Scrolls In Universe Books: As said in Racial Phylogeny, a.k.a Notes on Racial Phylogeny:
    After much analysis of living specimens, the Council long ago determined that all "races" of elves and humans may mate with each other and bear fertile offspring. Generally the offspring bear the racial traits of the mother, though some traces of the father's race may also be present.
  • December 9, 2017
    Theriocephalus
    @ Lullabee

    Sure, I'll add it there too.

    EDIT: I would contend it belongs here, too, though, because the children are always either their mother's species or their father's, just split by biological sex. In D&D, by contrast, hag reproduction is not this trope — the female children are hags like their mothers, but the males are monsters who don't look anything like their father's species: Gender Equas Breed, certainly, but not a case of this, unlike in Pathfinder.
  • December 13, 2017
    IronicMouse
    In Treasure Planet, we see Dr. Doppler and Capt. Amelia's Babys Ever After at the end of the film. The three girls are catfolk like Amelia, and the only boy is a dog-man like Doppler.

    EDIT: Oops, just realized this is a setting detail. Not sure if this still counts.
  • December 14, 2017
    Lullabee
    @Ironic Mouse By specifying that this is a setting detail, I wanted to just point out that it's not universal or necessarily unusually common in depictions of Interspecies Romance (plenty of works have it result in Mix And Match Critters), but when it does appear it tends to be internally consistent and treated like "a shortcut for describing situations the storyteller can reasonably assume the audience will recognize". If that makes sense?

    So the point is I was thinking that a case like Treasure Planet would be an example... except I'm trying to leave pure Gender Equals Breed examples to that trope.

    But I think this points to some stuff I should clarify in the description.
  • December 15, 2017
    GirlofMassDeconstruction
    • Even though the four races (Spades, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds) from Alice And The Nightmare can marry and have children, the children are neither more than one suit. For example, Dee and Dum and Edith are biological siblings, but Edith is a Diamond and Dee and Dum are Hearts.
  • December 14, 2017
    DustSnitch
    • The four races in The Legend Of Korra can each control a classical element and only the Avatar can master all four, so children of mixed race either control no element or one element. Best demonstrated by the children of the Air Nomad Aang and the Waterbender Katara, who have a non-elemental child, a water child, and an air child.
  • December 14, 2017
    zarpaulus
    ^ Though in the third season the non-bender of the family develops airbending, along with dozens of other people scattered across the continent.
  • December 15, 2017
    AHI-3000
    Anyone got more examples?
  • December 15, 2017
    NubianSatyress
    • Dragon Age; The offspring of a Human and an Elf is always Human. Known as "Elf-Blooded", these humans show no signs of their mixed origins (no physical or magical differences from other Humans), but are still ostracized by both races. By Humans because they feel Humanity Is Superior, and by Elves because they're a living reminder of the fact that their race is slowly dying out.
  • December 15, 2017
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Missed a couple examples from the discussion.
  • January 13, 2018
    zarpaulus
    This still going on?
  • January 13, 2018
    Malady
    ^ Well, Lullabee still active. PM them?

    We've got 5 hats, so if no one can find a fault here, we can petition Lullabee for a launch?
  • January 14, 2018
    Arivne
  • February 16, 2018
    zarpaulus
  • February 16, 2018
    AHI-3000
    What indexes do we file this under?
  • February 17, 2018
    MathsAngelicVersion
    Artistic License Biology, Animal Tropes, Alien Tropes, Interracial And Interspecies Love Index.

    This is also a Super Trope to Dominant Species Genes, where offspring always inherit the dominant species.

    Compare Random Species Offspring, where the offspring's species is way different from their parents' species.
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