Scientists reverse transsexual sea snail trend

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 17 2001 12:00 AM ET

Marine biologists in Australia believe they have stopped a rash of transsexual sea snails that were endangering the species in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. In the 1980s researchers discovered that a boat-cleaning chemical called tribultylin was causing female marine snails to grow penises, making them infertile. Since 1989, however, ships less than 82 feet in length have been prohibited from using the chemical, and researchers say the female snails are now remaining female.