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dc.creatorKline, Richard J.en
dc.creatorKhan, Izhar A.en
dc.creatorHolt, G. Joanen
dc.identifier.citationKline RJ, Khan IA, Holt GJ (2011) Behavior, Color Change and Time for Sexual Inversion in the Protogynous Grouper (Epinephelus adscensionis). PLoS ONE 6(5): e19576. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019576en
dc.descriptionRichard J. Kline is with UT Austin, Izhar A. Khan is with the Dexter National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center, G. Joan Holt is with UT Austin.en
dc.description.abstractHermaphroditism, associated with territoriality and dominance behavior, is common in the marine environment. While male sex-specific coloration patterns have been documented in groupers, particularly during the spawning season, few data regarding social structure and the context for these color displays are available. In the present study, we define the social structure and male typical behavior of rock hind (Epinephelus adscensionis) in the wild. In addition, we detail the captive conditions and time period necessary to induce the onset of the sex-specific coloration and sexual change. At six oil production platform locations in the Gulf of Mexico, rock hind social group size and typical male rock hind social behavior were documented. We observed a rapid temporary color display in rock hind that could be turned on and off within three seconds and was used for confronting territory intruders and displays of aggression towards females. The male-specific “tuxedo” pattern consists of a bright yellow tail, a body with alternating dark brown and white patches and a dark bar extending from the upper mandible to the operculum. Identification and size ranges of male, female and intersex fish collected from oil platforms were determined in conjunction with gonadal histology. Rock hind social order is haremic with one dominant male defending a territory and a linear dominance hierarchy among individuals. In five captive experiments, the largest remaining female rock hind displayed the male specific color pattern within 32d after dominant male removal from the social group. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence in a grouper species of color patterning used to display territoriality and dominance outside of spawning aggregations. The behavioral paradigm described here is a key advance that will enable mechanistic studies of this complex sex change process.en
dc.description.sponsorshipThe authors acknowledge funding from the Lund Fellowship in Marine Science to RJK and from the Sid Richardson Foundation to GJH and IAK. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.en
dc.publisherPublic Library of Scienceen
dc.rightsAttribution 3.0 United Statesen
dc.subjectAnimal behavioren
dc.subjectFreshwater fishen
dc.subjectGulf of Mexicoen
dc.subjectMarine fishen
dc.titleBehavior, Color Change and Time for Sexual Inversion in the Protogynous Grouper (Epinephelus adscensionis)en
dc.description.departmentMarine Scienceen

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Attribution 3.0 United States
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 3.0 United States