Gonadal structure and population characteristics of the protogynous goby Coryphopterus glaucofraenum
Protogynous hermaphroditism has been reported in two gobiid species within the genus Coryphopterus, including C. nicholsi from the temperate northeastern Pacific and C. personatus from the Caribbean. In a third species from the Caribbean, C. glaucofraenum, experimental groups were established and gonad structure of experimental individuals (collected off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico between February 1985 and June 1987) was subsequently examined histologically to determine the sexual pattern. Protogyny was confirmed in C. glaucofraenum. Sex change was either initiated or completed, typically by the largest female, in all-female groups held for 10 to 40 d. Ovarian, transitional, and testis structure were similar to that of C. nicholsi and C. personatus. No preformed testicular tissue was evident in the ovary proper and ovarian features were not retained in the sex-changed testis beyond the newly transformed stage. Secretory accessory gonadal structures associated with the testis and which develop at the time of sex change arose from precursive tissue masses associated with the ventral portion of the ovarian wall in the region of the common genital sinus. The rapid development and onset of function in these structures, generally preceding that of the associated developing testis, suggest that they may play an important role in sex change events and in advertising new male status. Based on observed similarities of ovarian, transitional and secondary testis structure in three protogynous Coryphopterus species, including one species isolated since the last closing of the American landbridge, it is probable that protogyny is an ancestral condition in this genus.
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