Phenotypic plasticity can facilitate reproductive strategies that maximize mating success in variable environments and lead to differences in sex allocation among populations. For simultaneous hermaphrodites with sperm competition, including Serranus tortugarum a small coral reef fish, proportional male allocation (testis in total gonad) is often greater where local density or mating group size is higher. We tested whether S. tortugarum reduced male allocation when transplanted from a higher density site to a lower density site. After 4 months, transplants mirrored the sex-allocation patterns of the resident population on their new reef. Transplants had significantly lower male allocation than representatives from their source population, largely as a result of reduced testis mass relative to body size. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.