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Sexual bipotentiality of behavior in male and female goldfish

General and Comparative Endocrinology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.08.022
  • Androgen
  • Brain Sex
  • Goldfish
  • Prostaglandin
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Plasticity


Abstract It is known that in goldfish Carassius auratus, a non-sex changing fish, prostaglandin (PG) treatment can induce female-typical sex behavior in males, and androgen treatment can induce male-typical sex behavior in females. These facts suggest that goldfish have a sexually bipotential brain even after attaining sexual maturity unlike mammals which have sexually differentiated brain. In the present study, in order to further characterize the brain function of goldfish, whether hormonal treatments which induce heterotypical sexual behavior suppress the occurrence of sex-typical behavior and whether sex-typical and heterotypical behavior can be induced in a relatively short time were examined. In the first series of experiments, male goldfish were shown to retain their ability to perform male-typical sex behavior within a week after being induced to perform female-typical behavior. Likewise, female goldfish were also shown to retain their female-typical sex behavior a week after being induced to perform male-typical behavior. In the second series of experiments, when PG-injected experimental males were placed with both PG-injected females and sexually mature males, the experimental males performed male- and female-typical behavior alternately with the females and the males, respectively during 90min test period. When methyltestosterone-treated experimental females were injected with PG and placed with both PG-injected females and mature males, the experimental females performed male- and female-typical behavior alternately during 90min test period. The results of the present study are consistent with the current knowledge that goldfish possess a sexually bipotential brain that can regulate both male and female-typical sex behaviors.

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