Lake Malawi Species • Auratus & Gender Change

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Auratus & Gender Change

Postby JerseyGiant88 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:30 pm

I have read from a variety of sources that auratus can change gender if they are in an exclusively female tank. the dominant female changes from being gold with black stripes and picks up the dark blackish/brownish/blue coloring of the male auratus. however, i am not clear if this is an actual sex change or just a change in coloration to show dominance in the absence of a male. in other words, can an auratus female that "becomes male" fertilize eggs? i looked at the species article on this site and it does not mention anything about a gender or sex change.
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Postby TKC747 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:40 pm

I don't know about fresh water fishes doing this but some salt water fishes do this.
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Postby Kanorin » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:57 pm

The alpha female does not change gender, she just can take on male coloration. I've even heard of a dominant female attempting to mate with a sub-dominant female. I've never heard of fertile eggs being the result, however.
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:49 am

females can change into males and fertilise eggs. i have experienced this many times
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Postby Rhinox » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:29 am

TheFishFactory wrote:females can change into males and fertilise eggs. i have experienced this many times


no you haven't. What you have experienced is a young male or subdominant male taking on adult male breeding coloration. True females can not turn into males.
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:32 am

i beg to differ!! Ii have had stock tanks full of females, witnessed the colour change, then had females holding!!
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Postby Rhinox » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:51 am

A color change and then females holding is not enough to prove that a female auratus actually turned into a male. It could have been a subdom male that finally felt comfortable enough to color up. It could have been a dominant female simply taking on male coloration (but remaining female). Also, is has been said that 2 females will attempt to spawn together with the result of one or both fish holding eggs afterwards, but the eggs are obviously not fertile.

To believe that a female auratus can actually change gender, I would have to see evidence that:

1) the female first has held fertile eggs at some point (produced fry),
2) changed color to mate and fertilize eggs with another female, and
3) those eggs hatched into fry.
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:57 am

The tank was full of females who had all produced fry before with various males. After selling the males 2 ' changed' then fertilized eggs with the other females which hatched.
This is a good debate however and I appreciate your doubts as I found it odd too. I believe there has been studies on various cichlids that report this phenomenon.
:thumb:
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:58 am

here was one done with metriclima

www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.1643/CG-06-143
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Postby Rhinox » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:23 am

yeah, when I googled for any evidence to support your claim (to see if I was wrong), that abstract was the only thing I found too... Do you have the whole article by chance? I couldn't find it, but I would like to read it.
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:54 am

I'll try and find it for you, but I don't need to prove anything just because you haven't seen it!! By the way , why would a ' sub dominant male' not show his male colouration if there were no other males in the tank?
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:14 am

Rhinox, if you don't want to believe it then don't, that's up to you. All I can say is I have seen it occur in a stable environment. No, I didn't film it and I can't prove it to you, unless you pay for a flight to Spain and stay here a month or 2 to witness it.

I also have clients who have witnessed the same phenomenon, clients who, like me have over 30 years experience with Malawi's.

I am wondering what qualifies you to discount my claim?
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Postby JerseyGiant88 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:17 am

glad to have sparked such a heated debate.
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Postby TheFishFactory » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:25 am

LOL, Jersey, this isn't heated, believe me, it can get a lot worse!! I fully understand the scepticism as it's not as regular occurrence with freshwater as it is with my marines, but IMHO it does occur! I have no problem with Rhinox questions, just that I don't feel I need to prove anything to justify ' my' claim. If you google it many sites make the same claim. :thumb:
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Postby Kanorin » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:31 am

TheFishFactory wrote:By the way , why would a ' sub dominant male' not show his male colouration if there were no other males in the tank?


I've seen this happen - it occurred when I added a young male to an established group of larger females.
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