For many species, it is certain that the majority of their offspring will not survive to adulthood. The solution, then, is to simply have more offspring. But this is where nature finds a limitation. While males of almost every species can produce sperm in very short order, the females, once impregnated, must wait until they give birth or lay eggs before they can reproduce again. For some fish common to coral reefs, evolution found an interesting solution. Change sex.
Sex Change in Nature - Coral Reef Fish
Clownfish males become females if their ‘wife’ is eaten | Daily Mail Online
One fish species is able to adjust the gender ratio of its population, through changes at the molecular level, in response to changing environmental conditions, shows a KAUST research team1. Such characteristics can render fish communities more resilient to disruptions that might otherwise prove catastrophic to their reproductive capabilities. For example, clownfish "families" normally consist of one mature male and female plus numerous juveniles. If the female disappears, the remaining male alters hormone levels to transform into a female, restoring the previous gender balance. The precise biology of this is unclear, and Ravasi and his KAUST colleagues set out to identify changes in gene expression within the brain and gonads that drive this process of sequential hermaphroditism. They compared gene activity profiles from fully developed males and females as well as males at multiple stages of the process. After two weeks of being separated from a female, the researchers detected clear changes in gene expression within the brains of males that apparently herald the onset of gender transition, and complementary changes in gonadal gene expression became apparent a few weeks later.
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Ocellaris Clownfish – Male or Female
All rights reserved. Anyone with kids and a DVD player probably thinks they know all there is to know about the clownfish, also called the clown anemonefish. What they may not know is that the heroes of Finding Nemo are actually called false anemonefish. True anemonefish, Amphiprion percula , are nearly identical, but have subtle differences in shape and live in different habitats.
The bluehead wrasse is a fish that lives in small social groups in coral reefs in the Caribbean. Only the male has a blue head — signalling his social dominance over a harem of yellow-striped females. If this male is removed from the group, something extraordinary happens: the largest female in the group changes sex to become male. Her behaviour changes within minutes.