On intersexuality in the crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus: an inducible sexual plasticity model Academic Article uri icon


  • Summary Sexual differentiation is a plastic process. The plasticity may be manifested during embryo-genesis, when one set of primordial reproductive ducts develops while the other degenerates. In adults, many normal (e.g., sequential hermaphroditism) and abnormal (e.g., endocrine disorders or exposure to endocrine disrupters such as estrogenic pollutants) cases are known in which sexual plasticity may be expressed as various degrees of feminization. In crustaceans, the androgenic gland (AG) regulates the development of male characteristics; its absence results in feminization, often including the onset of vitellogenesis. A unique model of intersexuality was found in the crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus, in which some degree of natural sexual plasticity is observed. Two to 14% of the population are intersex individuals, having both male and female genital openings. Intersex specimens always function as males but may also contain an ovary in a permanently arrested, pre-vitellogenic state. This sexual plastic...

publication date

  • January 1, 2002