Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 125–135

New aspects of sex change among reef fishes: recent studies in Japan

  • Tetsuo Kuwamura
  • Yasuhiro Nakashima

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007389519702

Cite this article as:
Kuwamura, T. & Nakashima, Y. Environmental Biology of Fishes (1998) 52: 125. doi:10.1023/A:1007389519702


New aspects of sex change in reef fishes are reviewed with special emphasis on recent studies in Japan. For protogyny, studies on both monandric and diandric species have been conducted, but the distinction of primary males from prematurational secondary males seems to need further examination. For protandry, detailed field studies on anemonefishes have revealed alternative life-history styles associated with movements between hosts before or after maturation. The most interesting new aspect has been the discovery of 2-way sex change within a species. Conditions for evolution of 2-way sex change are examined in relation to the size-advantage model and social control mechanisms. A fish may change sex when it becomes dominant in a mating group, but a dominant fish may also change sex in the reverse direction when its social status changes to subordinate through inter-group movement. Two-way sex change has hitherto been reported only from basically protogynous fishes (e.g., Gobiidae, Pomacanthidae, Cirrhitidae, Epinephelinae). Possibilities of the reverse sex change in the protandrous anemonefishes are discussed with data from some unpublished studies.

hermaphroditismprotandryprotogyny2-way sex changesize-advantage modelsocial status

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tetsuo Kuwamura
    • 1
  • Yasuhiro Nakashima
    • 2
  1. 1.Biological Laboratory, Faculty of Liberal ArtsChukyo UniversityYagoto, NagoyaJapan
  2. 2.School of NursingMiyagi UniversityTaiwa-cho, MiyagiJapan