- Mature males of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii (de Man), may change from one to another morphotype, according to a set sequence. Small males may develop into orange-claw males and orange-claw males into dominant blue-claw males. Each of the three morphotypes demonstrates distinctive reproductive behavior and secondary sexual characteristics. The role of the androgenic gland in this morphotypic transformation was examined experimentally by bilateral androgenic gland ablation (andrectomy) of small males and orange-claw males. For andrectomy initiated in the small male morphotype, transformation to the next morphotype was permitted (orange-claw), but subsequent transformation to the blue-claw morphotype was blocked. Andrectomy of orange-claw males did not prevent transformation into the blue-claw. Andrectomy on both small and orange-claw males caused disappearance of the genital papillae and atrophy of the sperm ducts and testes. The growth rates of the andrectomized small and orange-claw males were significantly lower than those of the unoperated and sham-operated controls. We conclude that androgenic gland factors control not only the differentiation of male secondary sexual characteristics but also morphotypic differentiation. Bioassays based on the results of this study will be instrumental in the characterization of such a factor(s).