Social induction of maturation and sex determination in a coral reef fish

Hobbs, Jean-Paul A., Munday, Philip L., and Jones, Geoffrey P. (2004) Social induction of maturation and sex determination in a coral reef fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: biological sciences, 271 (1553). pp. 2109-2114.

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Labile maturation and sex determination should be advantageous where the probability of finding a mating partner is unpredictable. Here we tested the hypothesis that the presence of a potential mating partner induces maturation and sex determination in a coral–dwelling fish, Gobiodon erythrospilus. In natural populations at Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef), single individuals were less likely to be mature than paired individuals and they matured at a larger size, indicating plasticity in the timing of maturation. By manipulating group structure we demonstrated that both the timing of maturation and the sex of maturing individuals are socially controlled. Single juveniles did not mature, but maturation was rapidly induced by the presence of an adult partner. In addition, sex determination was found to be labile, with juveniles maturing into the opposite sex of the partner encountered. To our knowledge, this is the first experimental demonstration of social induction of maturation in conjunction with labile sex determination at maturation in vertebrates. This flexibility enables individuals to maximize their reproductive success in an environment where the timing of mate acquisition and the sex of their future partner are unpredictable.

Item ID: 7066
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: environmental sex determination; maturation; social conditions; phenotypic plasticity
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2010 00:13
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 49%
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