- A Whopper of an honor: Local company named top Burger King franchisee (11/15/17)3
- Decisions coming soon on steel mill, smelter in New Madrid (11/17/17)1
- Southern Illinois farmer's grapevines destroyed by dicamba; four years of work lost (10/29/17)2
- Cape attorney Brandon Cooper to run for judge (11/20/17)2
- State audit: Bollinger County tax levies violate state law; county commission disagrees (11/17/17)3
- Aldi store reopens after renovations (11/14/17)3
- Cape native co-directs Thanksgiving-related indie film, 'Drinksgiving' (11/17/17)
- The Tungsten Groove to release first album featuring original songs (11/17/17)
- Son of Westboro Baptist Church patriarch discusses abuse, faith (11/15/17)6
- 1 dead, 3 hurt in accident on Highway 72 (11/19/17)
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.