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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1987 Feb;65(2):225-32.

Effects of testosterone manipulations on nonbreeding season territorial aggression in free-living male lizards, Sceloporus jarrovi.

Abstract

Seasonal changes in testosterone levels in male mountain spiny lizards (Sceloporus jarrovi) are correlated tightly with seasonal changes in intensity of aggressive territorial defense. Testosterone levels are lowest in the winter when males aggregate, are moderately elevated during the summer when males show low-intensity territorial defense, and are highest during the fall breeding season when males show high-intensity territorial defense. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that changes in testosterone levels cause these seasonal changes in territorial behavior. We experimentally increased and decreased circulating testosterone levels in free-living males during the summer, when they display non-breeding season territoriality. Artificially increasing testosterone levels to levels equivalent to the breeding season significantly increased some, but not all, measures of territorial aggression. Levels of aggression attained, however, were still well below those typical of breeding season males. This implies that the transition to full breeding season levels of aggression is caused only partly by an increase in testosterone levels. Castration of males during the summer had no effect on several measures of territorial aggression. Thus the activation of nonbreeding season territoriality, which precedes testicular recrudescence by several months, is relatively unaffected by testosterone levels. Taken together these results suggest that the same behavior, in this case territorial aggression, may be controlled by different mechanisms in different seasons.

PMID:
3817446
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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