Bidirectional Sex Change in Marine Fishes

Philip L. Munday, Tetsuo Kuwamura and Frederieke J. Kroon

in Reproduction and Sexuality in Marine Fishes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780520264335
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947979 | DOI:
Bidirectional Sex Change in Marine Fishes

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Sex change (sequential hermaphroditism) is well known in fishes, where its occurrence and evolutionary advantage have been the focus of numerous reviews since the early 1960s. This chapter explores the unusual phenomenon of bidirectional sex change in marine fishes. It discusses taxon-specific features of reproductive biology, social factors, and environmental factors to determine why such a complex sexual pattern has evolved in some marine fish taxa. The chapter also examines the distribution of bidirectional sex change among teleosts, and the patterns of sexual development and sexual expression that these species exhibit. After considering the sexual patterns of bidirectional sex changers, it looks at sexual dimorphism and the size-advantage hypothesis. Finally, the chapter reviews the proximate mechanisms controlling sex change in each direction as well as the physiological changes that occur in the brain, gonads, and endocrine system, which enable such extreme sexual lability to occur.

Keywords: marine fishes; bidirectional sex change; sequential hermaphroditism; reproductive biology; teleosts; sexual development; sexual dimorphism; size-advantage hypothesis; gonads; endocrine system

Chapter.  12798 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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