Metaphase chromosomes from cultured blood cells of female, male, and hermaphroditic European eels were analyzed. In addition, both gonads from each of the specimens were examined microscopically to ensure correct sexing. The karyological investigation revealed that in some of the specimens a heteromorphic chromosome pair was present. This heteromorphism appeared in both sexes and in the hermaphrodite. C-banding and silver nitrate staining demonstrated that the heteromorphism was due to quantitative differences in constitutive heterochromatin and nucleolar organizing regions in the short arm of chromosome 8. In G-banded preparations it was demonstrated that, except for the heteromorphism mentioned, the karyotypes from both sexes and the hermaphrodite were identical. With the G-band technique it was also easily demonstrated that both the largest metacentric (No. 1) and the smallest metacentric (No. 11) had homologs. Therefore, in contrast to some earlier reports which claimed that these two chromosomes were a heteromorphic pair of sex chromosomes, it is concluded that Anguilla anguilla has no heteromorphic sex chromosomes. The implication of these findings are discussed in relation to the many reports of strongly skewed sex ratios found in commercial eel farms. It is tentatively hypothesized that sex determination in A. anguilla may be metagamic and that sex inversion may occur in this species.

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