1Present address: Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biology, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106.
Gonad development in Midas cichlids and the evolution of sex change in fishes
Article first published online: 11 JUL 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Evolution & Development
Volume 13, Issue 4, pages 352–360, July/August 2011
How to Cite
Oldfield, R. G. (2011), Gonad development in Midas cichlids and the evolution of sex change in fishes. Evolution & Development, 13: 352–360. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2011.00490.x
- Issue published online: 11 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 11 JUL 2011
SUMMARY Some fishes mature and function as one sex and later transform to the other sex in response to social interactions. Previous evidence suggested that a change in developmental timing may be involved in the evolution of adult sex change in fishes. The most recent support for this idea came from reports that sex in the Midas cichlid, Amphilophus citrinellus, was determined by social conditions experienced at the juvenile stage. Differentiation as a male was reported to be dependent on large body size relative to group-mates, and thought to be mediated through aggressive interactions. Here I demonstrate that socially controlled sex determination does not occur as was originally reported. Previously, I found that sex was not associated with body size in juveniles either in nature or in captivity. Similarly, I found no association between aggressive behavior and sex in juveniles. I later demonstrated that socially controlled sex determination does not typically occur in the Midas cichlid and closely related species and supported an alternative mechanism to explain large body size in adult males. Finally, in the current study I analyze gonad histology of fish from the same population used by the original authors and lay to rest the idea of socially controlled sex determination in this species. Recent observations of socially controlled sex determination in juveniles of species that typically change sex at the adult stage are examples of phenotypic plasticity, not genetic variation. Therefore, juvenile socially controlled sex determination does not support a theory that a change in developmental timing is involved in the evolution of adult sex change in fishes.