Synchronized development of gonad and bioluminescent light organ in a highly sexually dimorphic leiognathid fish,Photoplagios rivulatus

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In order to investigate the possible coupling between sexual maturation and the light organ system (LOS) development in leiognathid fish, we determined the seasonal changes in the gonad maturation and the light organ enlargement in Photoplagios rivulatus, one of the leiognathid species possessing highly sexually dimorphic LOS. The fish specimens collected from March 2001 to August 2002 were assessed for standard length (SL), body weight (BW), sex, gonad weight (GW) and the light organ weight (LW). Gonadosomatic index (GSI = 102GW/BW) and percent weight of the light organ to body weight (PLW = 102 LW/BW) were used to demonstrate the extent of development of gonad and the LOS, respectively. Mean GSIs in both male and female increased in June through August. The mean PLW in males showed a similar trend to that of the GSI, while PLW in females showed no clear seasonal trends. A significant positive correlation was found between the GSI and the PLW in males but not in females. The onset of sexual maturity in males (55 mm SL) coincided with that of the light organ enlargement. These results strongly support the functional coupling between reproduction and bioluminescence in this species of leiognathid. From an evolutionary perspective, sexual dimorphism in the LOS is likely to have evolved through sexual selection for reproductive success in leiognathid fishes.

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