Gonopore development and sex change in the Antarctic shrimp Chorismus antarcticus (Caridea: Hippolytidae)


Chorismus antarcticus is the only protandrous hermaphrodite decapod species found on the Antarctic continental shelves. The morphological structures of the male and female gonopores were described and used to determine sex and to fix the size range at which the transition from male to female takes place. The parallel occurrence of male and female gonopores was found in all specimens. The presence of open gonopore flaps at both the third and fifth pair of pereiopods in individuals between 9 and 12 mm of carapace length (CL) is discussed as the morphological indicator of sex change. Few females occurred from 9 mm CL onwards, whereas all shrimps larger than 13 mm CL only had open female gonopores. This size corresponds exactly with the CL at which onset of oocyte development and female gonad production starts. Secondary sexual characters, the gonopore structures, seem to allow an accurate prediction of the size range at which hermaphrodite caridean decapods change sex.


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