Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Horm Behav. 2019 Sep 9:104565. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.104565. [Epub ahead of print]

How research on female vertebrates contributes to an expanded challenge hypothesis.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA; Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. Electronic address: krosvall@indiana.edu.
2
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA; Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

Abstract

The bi-directional links between hormones and behavior have been a rich area of research for decades. Theory on the evolution of testosterone (T) was greatly advanced by the challenge hypothesis, which presented a framework for understanding interspecific, seasonal, and social variation in T levels in males, and how they are shaped by the competing demands of parental care and male-male competition. Female competition is also widespread in nature, although it is less clear whether or how the challenge hypothesis applies to females. Here, we evaluate this issue in four parts: (1) We summarize and update prior analyses of seasonal plasticity and interspecific variation in T in females. (2) We evaluate experimental links between T and female aggression on shorter timescales, asking how T manipulations affect aggression and conversely, how social manipulations affect T levels in female mammals, birds, lizards, and fishes. (3) We examine alternative mechanisms that may link aggression to the social environment independently of T levels in circulation. (4) We present a case study, including new data analyses, in an aggressive female bird (the tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor) to explore how variation in tissue-level processing of T may bridge the gap between circulating T and variation in behavior that is visible to natural selection. We close by connecting these multivariate levels of sex steroid signaling systems alongside different temporal scales (social, seasonal, and evolutionary) to generate broadly applicable insights into how animals respond to their social environment, regardless of whether they are male or female.

KEYWORDS:

5-Alpha-reductase; Amygdala; Androgen receptor; Aromatase; Evolutionary endocrinology; Neural sensitivity; Pectoralis

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center