Featured Image Credit: LemonTYK
By: Sarah Sharkey
University of Salford researchers have discovered an interesting phenomenon among sequentially hermaphroditic fish. What are sequentially hermaphroditic fish? These species of fish are born one sex and then transform to the other sex later in life. This is done to maximize the number of potential offspring for the species.
Dr. Chiara Benvenuto, a researcher at the University of Salford, said ““Until now, studies have mostly looked at differences between species that change sex or not, but we’re interested in the direction of sex change. While fecundity and reproductive success are expected to increase with size for both females and males, the fitness advantage can increase more rapidly for one sex than the other: this is when sex change can occur.”
There are more than 400 species of fish that are considered sequential hermaphrodites. So this biology is more common than you might think.
Researchers have found that male fish prefer to change from male to female. The number of fish that change from female to male is a very small percentage of the population. Different species have different protandrous (male-to-female) to protogynous (female-to-male) ratios. So according to Dr. Benvenuto, it is important to not lump sequentially hermaphroditic together.
This research has important implications for fishery management because it affects which fish should be taken for food from the ocean.
Learn more from our source.