Sex change in a giant endemic limpet, Patella kermadecensis, from the Kermadec Islands

R. G. Creese*, D. R. Schiel, M. J. Kingsford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sex-ratios of the limpet Patella kermadecensis Pilsbry, collected at three times of the year during 1984 and 1985 at Raoul Island in the Kermadecs group, varied with the size of the limpets. Small limpets were predominantly male, while amongst larger ones about half were female. The presence of hermaphroditism in P. kermadecensis was confirmed by microscopic examination of gonad material from over 50 limpets, which revealed a high percentage of individuals with both male and female gametes in their gonads. It is postulated that protandric sex change occurs in this large limpet, and that this phenomenon is related to a change in habitat from the backs of large shells (limpets less than approximately 50 mm) to bedrock (larger limpets). The pattern of sex change in P. kermadecensis is compared with that in other species of limpet, and it is suggested that a reproductive system consisting of gonochoristic males and sequential hermaphrodites may be particularly advantageous for a large, slow-growing species that has a very restricted geographical range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Biology
Volume104
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1990
Externally publishedYes

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