The influence of social factors on juvenile sexual differentiation in a diandric, protogynous grouper Epinephelus coioides
de Mitcheson, Yvonne Sadovy（ Univ Hong Kong, Sch Biol Sci, Div Ecol & Biodivers, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Peoples R China）
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The influence of social factors on juvenile sexual differentiation was explored in a diandric, protogynous grouper Epinephelus coioides. Experimental social units were established as singles, pairs and quartets using sexually undifferentiated juveniles at an age of 22 weeks post-hatching (WPH); all gonads were examined histologically at 130 WPH, the age of first sexual maturation. The percentage of primary males was about 39% at the end of the experiment, higher than the < 5% obtained under mariculture conditions or from wild stocks for similar age or body size. This study demonstrated for the first time that social factors can significantly influence juvenile sexual differentiation in E. coioides.