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The Fish Which Changes From Female to Male

By Geetika Anand; Illustration by Shridevi

There is a fish called the blackspot angelfish, which can change from female to male. No, it cannot do it by simply wishing to become male. The change happens for a specific reason.

The Fish Which Changes From Female to Male, Earth facts for kids: 66_1.gif The angel fish live in groups. And each group has one male fish, which is blue in colour, and four female fish, which are yellow in colour.

The male angelfish is the strongest and largest member of the group. He is the one who protects and looks after the females and acts like their 'security guard'. When the male dies, the group needs a 'security guard'. This is when the largest female fish in the group begins to change its appearance.

She begins to grow larger in size. After a week, she starts changing colour, from yellow to blue. Slowly, her behaviour towards the females changes. She begins behaving like a male. Two weeks later, black stripes appear on her body. This indicates that the gender change is complete. She is now completely male!

The Fish Which Changes From Female to Male, Earth facts for kids: 66_2.gif This process of changing gender is called hermaphroditism.

Another interesting fact about angelfish is that they have an occupation in the fish world. Most of them act as 'cleaners' for other fish. They pick parasites and dead tissue from the body of other fish.

The angel fish are among the most brightly coloured fish of the sea. You can also see them in home aquaria. People prefer to keep them because of the interesting patterns on them. These patterns help them to hide from predators. Often, the young ones are differently coloured than the adults.

At night, when these fish become inactive, their colours may change. Among the better-known species are the black and gold angelfish of the Indo-Pacific, the French angelfish, Pomacanthus paru (or P. arcuatus), a black and yellow species of the Atlantic, and the queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris), a blue and yellow fish of the Atlantic.

They can be found in the freshwaters of South America, in warm seas and coral reefs and can grow up to a length of 17 inches. They usually swim singly or in pairs. They have thinly compressed bodies and a strong spine located in the lower part of the cheekbone. Their diet consists mainly of sponge and algae.

The Fish Which Changes From Female to Male [Earth facts for kids]
By Geetika Anand; Illustration by Shridevi

 

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