Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 125–142

Patterns of gonad structure in hermaphroditic gobies (Teleostei Gobiidae)

  • Kathleen S. Cole

DOI: 10.1007/BF00751032

Cite this article as:
Cole, K.S. Environ Biol Fish (1990) 28: 125. doi:10.1007/BF00751032


Hermaphroditism has been reported for a small number of gobiid fishes, but the extent of this sexual pattern within the family is not known. Gonad structure was examined in one or more species from twenty-one gobiid genera. No evidence of hermaphroditism was found in the species selected from 14 genera. Laboratory studies supported the conclusion of gonochorism for the examined species in four of them:Asterropteryx, Bathygobius, Gnatholepis, andPsilogobius. Currently, the absence of precursive testicular tissues associated with the ovary in females, in conjunction with no retained ovarian features in the testes of males, appear to be reliable indicators of a gonochoristic sexual pattern in gobiid fishes. Evidence for hermaphroditism was observed in seven genera:Eviota, Trimma, Fusigobius, Lophogobius, Priolepis, Gobiodon, andParagobiodon. Protogyny was experimentally confirmed inE. epiphanes, and the gonad structure in another nine of ten species ofEviota suggested either protogyny or protogynous tendencies. With the exception ofGobiodon andParagobiodon, which exhibited similar gonadal structure, ovarian and testicular structure varied considerably among the hermaphroditic genera examined, both with regard to the configuration and to the degree of development of ovarian and testicular tissues, or testicular tissue precursors. Findings of this study indicate that hermaphroditic gonad structure will prove to be a useful trait in determining evolutionary relationships within the Gobiidae.

Key words

ProtogynyTransitional gonadGobiid systematicsEviotaTrimmaFusigobiusLophogobiusPriolepisGobiodonParagobiodon

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen S. Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, APOMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyBishop's UniversityLennoxvilleCanada