Male is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces sperm. The "sperm" is defined as the smaller, ordinarily motile gamete in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the larger gamete, the ovum, is produced by the female. A male individual cannot reproduce sexually without access to the gametes of a female.
There is no single genetic mechanism behind sex differences in different species, and the existence of two sexes seems to have evolved multiple times independently in different evolutionary lineages. Other than the defining difference in the type of gamete produced, differences between males and females in one lineage cannot always be predicted by differences in another. The concept is not limited to animals; sperm cells are produced by chytrids, diatoms, and land plants, among others. In land plants, 'female' and 'male' designate not only the egg- and sperm-producing organisms and structures, but also the structures of the sporophytes that give rise to male and female plants.
A common symbol used to represent the male gender is ♂ (Unicode: U+2642), a circle with an arrow pointing northeast. This is a stylized representation of the god Mars' shield and spear.