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Puberty and recrudescence in cultured male yellowtail flounder: plasma androgens and spermatogenesis

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Two year classes of cultured male yellowtail flounder Limanda ferruginea were followed in order to examine puberty and recrudescence at the gonadal level, and to assess the impacts of culture conditions on male reproduction. Cultured males demonstrated a propensity for maturation as 1 year‐old fish. Pubertal activation of testicular steroid production was associated with the appearance of primary spermatocytes, but a single case of a premeiotic endocrine activation was detected. The onset of puberty occurred during September and October, when adults were post‐spawned or in early recrudescence. Once initiated, pubertal development proceeded in an uninterrupted progression to full maturity by June at 22 months of age. Spermatogenetic activity during the autumn led to a peak in the gonado‐somatic index and total testicular mass by December. Milt could be first expressed from some pubertal males at this time, well in advance of the May to August spawning period in captivity. Meiotic activity could be absent from the testes by the spring, but residual areas of meiotic activity were found in pubertal males of one year class which may indicate a slower spermatogenetic rate. Androgen levels peaked during prespawning and early spawning; 11‐ketotestosterone (11‐KT) was the dominant androgen throughout spermatogenesis. Recrudescing 2 year‐old males showed greater testicular development and androgen production. Spermatogenetic patterns were similar to those seen in pubertal males, with the distinction that recrudescing males had a more discernable mitotic phase prior to meiotic activity; mitotic and meiotic activity overlapped considerably during early puberty. Testicular development well in advance of spawning may confer an evolutionary advantage to males of this cold‐water marine flatfish.

Keywords: male; puberty; recrudescence; reproduction; sexual maturation; yellowtail flounder

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, A1B 3X9 Canada 2: Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5S7 Canada and

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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