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Horm Behav. 2012 Jun;62(1):99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 May 18.

Testosterone elevation and response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone challenge by male northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) following aggressive behavior.

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1
Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive # 5018, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA. Margaret.Devries@eagles.usm.edu

Abstract

There is much discrepancy about the relationship between testosterone (T) and male aggressive behavior. For example, in birds, males of many species significantly elevate T levels during inter-male conflict. However, this is not universal, and in species where males typically do not elevate T during aggressive interactions, concentrations of the hormone are often assumed to be circulating at maximum levels. We examined if male northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) significantly elevated T during simulated territorial intrusions (STIs). We also examined if individuals had the capacity to further elevate T levels in response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injections immediately after an aggressive encounter. Our results indicate that male cardinals do not significantly elevate T levels in response to STIs, but have the physiological capacity to significantly elevate T in response to GnRH injections following aggressive interactions. This implies that T levels of individuals captured during STIs were not at maximum concentrations. However, additional findings in this study also suggest the possibility that prolonged social instability could elicit significant elevations in T in males of this species, warranting further investigation.

PMID:
22613708
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.05.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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