Up to the challenge?: hormonal and behavioral responses of free-ranging male Cassin's sparrows, Peucaea cassinii, to conspecific song playback

Deviche, Pierre; Sharp, Peter J.; Dawson, Alistair; Sabo, John; Fokidis, Bobby; Davies, Scott; Hurley, Lori. 2012 Up to the challenge?: hormonal and behavioral responses of free-ranging male Cassin's sparrows, Peucaea cassinii, to conspecific song playback. Hormones and Behavior, 61 (5). 741-749.

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The Challenge Hypothesis postulates that male vertebrates can respond to social challenges, such as simulated territorial intrusions (STI), by rapidly increasing their concentrations of plasma androgens, such as testosterone (T). This increase may facilitate the expression of aggressive behavior and lead to persistence of this behavior even after withdrawal of the challenge, thus potentially promoting territoriality and the probability of winning future challenges. The validity of the Challenge Hypothesis was investigated in socially monogamous free-ranging male Cassin’s Sparrows, Peucaea cassinii. Exposure to STI at the beginning of the vernal nesting season stimulated aggressive behavior but did not increase plasma T. Furthermore, plasma T did not correlate with the duration of exposure to STI and the behavioral response to STI did not differ in males that were challenged a second time shortly after the first challenge. As birds were investigated at a stage of their reproductive cycle when plasma T is presumably seasonally high due to photostimulation, the lack of hormonal response to STI may have been due to the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis secreting hormones at maximum rates. This was not the case, however, because administration of gonadotropin-releasing hormone I (GnRH-I) rapidly stimulated the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) and T, and treatment with ovine LH rapidly stimulated T secretion.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0018-506X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The attached document is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Hormones and Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Hormones and Behavior, 61 (5). 741-749. 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.03.012
Additional Keywords: testosterone, GnRH, luteinizing hormone, Challenge Hypothesis, songbird, aggression, hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis, song playback, stress, seasonality
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Date made live: 16 May 2012 10:10 +0 (UTC)

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