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Pseudomale Behaviour and Spontaneous Masculinization in the All-Female Teleost Poecilia Formosa (Teleostei: Poeciliidae)

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Pseudosexual behaviour is a rare phenomenon associated with unisexuality in vertebrates. In the gynogenetic, all-female teleost Poecilia formosa, rare individuals occur that resemble males of closely related gonochoristic species both in behaviour and external morphology. These masculinized gynogens and normal gynogens are members of the same clone, as demonstrated by DNA-fingerprinting. The behaviour of these masculinized gynogens is described and compared to the behaviour of the gonochoristic species Poecilia mexicana, P. latipinna and their hybrid as well as androgen-treated individuals of P. formosa. No statistically significant differences were found between masculinized gynogens and hormone-treated individuals nor between the gonochoristic P. mexicana and P. latipinna males. Differences exist between gonochoristic and unisexual species. Possible causes and effects of masculinized gynogens are discussed.


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Affiliations: 1: Zoologisches Institut und Zoologisches Museum der Universität Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3, D-2000 Hamburg 13, F.R.G.; 2: Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-8033 Martinsried, F.R.G.; 3: Institut für Humangenetik der Univer-sität, Koellikerstrasse 2, D-8700 Würzburg, F.R.G.; 4: Genzentrum, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-8033 Martinsried, F.R.G.


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