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Occurrence of a Synchronous Hermaphroditic Striped Mullet, Mugil cephalus, from the Northern Gulf of Mexico

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A synchronous hermaphroditic striped mullet, Mugil cephalus, was captured offshore of Southwest Pass, Louisiana on 6 December 1996 during the commercial roe mullet fishery harvest. The fish measured 412 mm FL, weighed 824 g and was determined to be 4 years old by otolith analysis. Gross examination of the gonads revealed four lobes: right and left ovaries and right and left testis which represents a unique occurrence among hermaphroditic fish. All lobes ended in a common sperm duct/oviduct with the exception of the left ovary which had no oviduct. Both ovaries contained vitellogenic oocytes and both testis had freely running spermatozoa. Histological examination showed many oocytes undergoing final oocyte maturation, the presence of some post ovulatory follicles and lobules full of tailed spermatozoa. There was no evidence of the intermingling of sperm and oocytes within the gonad. The capture of this fish on the spawning grounds and the advanced stage of both ovarian and testicular development suggests spawning probably would involve the release of both oocytes and spermatozoa.

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