Evidence of temperature-dependent sex determination in the european sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.)

TitleEvidence of temperature-dependent sex determination in the european sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsPavlidis, M, Koumoundouros G, Sterioti A, Somarakis S, Divanach P, Kentouri M
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Pages225 - 232

To test the hypothesis that sex determination in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) can be affected by the incubating temperature during the very early developmental stages, eggs from the same batch of spontaneously spawned broodstock were divided at the stage of half-epiboly into three groups according to rearing temperature: G13 = 13°C, G15 = 15°C, and G20 = 20°C. Temperature treatment lasted until the middle of metamorphosis (17-18 mm total length, [TL]), and, with the exclusion of water temperature, all biotic and abiotic conditions were identical for the three experimental groups. The on-growing phase was performed under ambient photoperiod and temperature conditions for all groups. Sex proportions were determined by histological examination of the gonads of fish at 308, 467, and 568 days posthatch (DPH). At 308 DPH (TL: 135-201 mm), 100% of the specimens had differentiated into males and females. A significantly higher (P < 0.01) proportion of females was found in groups G13 (72-74%) and G15 (67-73%) than in group G20 (24-28%). At the final sampling there was no statistically significant difference in body weight between the experimental groups. However, in all groups, female fish were larger than males (P < 0.001). Results provide for the first time clear evidence that temperature during the very early developmental stages is the crucial factor affecting the process of sex differentiation of the sea bass, with low rearing temperatures (13 or 15°C) resulting in sex proportions consistently skewed in favor of females. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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