Sex reversal in Betta splendens Regan with emphasis on the problem of sex determination

J Exp Zool. 1975 Jan;191(1):25-32. doi: 10.1002/jez.1401910104.


To gain insight into the sex-determining mechanism of the Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens, sex-reversed individuals were bred and the ratios of the spawnings were examined. Sex-reversal of 245 females was undertaken by ovariectomizing them; of these, 104 became sex-reversed. Twenty-three of these latter fish were mated to normal females and eleven spawnings were raised to maturity. These spawnings resulted in all female broods or mixed broods. Were the male fish heterogametic, a view currently held by some authors, no males would be produced in these spawnings. Thus, male heterogamety was not substaintiated in this study. Contrary to other studies, the experimental sex reversal of females is not a rare event since nearly two-thirds of the fish that survived the surgery became sex-reversed. Gross dissection and histological observation of sex-reversed fish revealed a regenerated, unpaired duct which remained after the ovaries had been removed. The tissue of the regenerate was testicular and contained active spermatogenesis. Some alterative methods of sex determination which may apply to the Betta are examined. These include the possibility of two different sex-determining races, the effects of exogenous factors, and a polygenic system of sex determination.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Castration
  • Disorders of Sex Development*
  • Female
  • Fertilization
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Gonads / anatomy & histology
  • Gonads / physiology
  • Male
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Regeneration
  • Sex Determination Analysis*
  • Sex Ratio
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Spermatozoa / cytology
  • Testis / anatomy & histology