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Non-functional hermaphroditism in three species of Clupeiformes from Tokyo Bay, Japan


Author's address: Tomoki Sunobe, Laboratory of Fish Behavioural Ecology, Tateyama Station, Field Science Center, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, 670 Banda, Tateyama 294-0308, Japan.



Intersexual gonads were detected in three clupeiform species, Sardinops melanostictus, Sardinella zunasi and Englaulis japonicus, collected in Tokyo Bay off Yokohama City, Japan, of which appearance rates were 18.2, 34.6 and 33.9 %, respectively. While spermatogenesis proceeded normally in these individuals, previtellogenic stage oocytes were detected outside of the testes in the hermaphrodites, appearing as a single cell or small clusters. The results suggest that these species are non-functional hermaphrodites. As intersexual gonads have been reported in other clupeiform species collected before significant pollution and/or at sites far from urban influences, such non-functional hermaphrodites may be common occurrence in the order. However, high rates of hermaphrodite appearance also suggest the possibility that the development of these oocytes were induced by environmental estrogens.