- Obama shortens sentence of inmate from Cape (1/19/17)9
- Jackson police describe night of anger, car crashes, drug possession by 18-year-old (1/22/17)5
- Area hospitals hope a box helps prevent infant deaths (1/19/17)6
- A message from heaven (1/23/17)
- Local students to perform with choir at inauguration (1/19/17)3
- Southeast to lose $3.5 million from state in budget cuts (1/18/17)21
- Subjects of interest in 1992 killing take polygraph tests; results not revealed (1/18/17)2
- Meat-processing plant faces $70K penalty for Clean Water Act violations (1/17/17)4
- Area residents among those attending inauguration, women's march (1/22/17)90
- Comedian, cancer survivor Tom Green headlines sold-out Cancer Center benefit (1/22/17)
Studies show clownfish change size, sex when group is disrupted
Scientists could have written an R-rated, gender-bending plot twist to Disney's "Finding Nemo": Clownfish have a natural ability to change their sex.
Clownfish, the aquarium pet of choice since the release of the animated movie, live in such a rigid social structure in the wild that if one of the dominant breeding adults is removed, the size, status and even sex of the other clownfish change rapidly to return the group to the status quo.
"If the female of the group dies, the male changes sex and becomes the breeding female," said Cornell University evolutionary biologist Peter Buston, "while the largest nonbreeder becomes the breeding male."
Some other species of fish are known to do the same thing.
The study of the exotic reef dwellers, named for their outrageous colors, appears in today's issue of the journal Nature.
Buston observed 97 groups of clownfish living on reefs in Papua New Guinea.
Buston did not address how the fish change sex.