Incidence of male intersex in adult Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus), with a brief discussion of intersex vs. hermaphroditism in lampreys (Petromyzontiformes)


We report the incidence of male intersex in adult Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus (Richardson, 1836)) during their pre-spawning migration in fresh water. Although "hermaphrodites" have been suggested in other adult lampreys, this is the first detailed description and discussion of this phenomenon. A total of 0.5% of our adult Pacific lamprey from Willamette Falls (2 out of 427 adults) were intersex, with oocytes in the testes. This phenomenon was identifiable only by histological examination. The testes of the intersex males were immature, in the beginning stages of meiosis. One intersex male possessed primary growth or perinucleolar stage oocytes loosely interspersed throughout the testes, and the other possessed at least 6 mid-vitellogenic oocytes (0.6 mm, mean long diameter) separate from the testes. Because premetamorphic lamprey can possess both female and male gonial cells, we hypothesize that intersex is a remnant larval trait and that these fish failed to fully develop into males during metamorphosis.

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Canadian Journal of Zoology


NRC Research Press

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