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Criteria for the Diagnosis of Hermaphroditism in Fishes

Yvonne Sadovy and Douglas Y. Shapiro
Copeia
Vol. 1987, No. 1 (Feb. 11, 1987), pp. 136-156
DOI: 10.2307/1446046
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1446046
Page Count: 21
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Criteria for the Diagnosis of Hermaphroditism in Fishes
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Abstract

Certain of the criteria that have been used to establish hermaphroditism in fishes in the past are more reliable than others. Simple cases of simultaneous hermaphroditism can be diagnosed by the presence, within one gonad, of mature tissue of both genders or by experimental induction of self-fertilization. In sequential hermaphroditism (protogyny and protandry), convincing diagnoses will generally require the use of several indicative features. Features strongly indicative of protogyny are: membrane-lined central cavities in testes; transitional individuals; atretic bodies in stages 1, 2, or 3 of oocytic atresia within testes and sperm sinuses in the gonadal wall. The strongest indicators of protandry are transitional individuals whose gonads contain degenerating testicular tissue and developing ovarian tissue. Experimental production of transitional or sex-reversed individuals through manipulation of the social system may identify both protogyny and protandry. Because most indicators may be produced by more than one means, including sequential hermaphroditism, efforts should always be made to exclude alternative explanations for each piece of evidence. Features of population structure, such as bimodal size-frequency distributions with males a different size from females, or sex ratios differing from unity, are not reliable indicators of sexual pattern. Bimodal age-frequency distributions have fewer problems associated with their interpretation than do bimodal size-frequency distributions.

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