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Examining the role of testosterone in mediating short-term aggressive responses to social stimuli in a lizard


McEvoy, J and While, GM and Jones, SM and Wapstra, E, Examining the role of testosterone in mediating short-term aggressive responses to social stimuli in a lizard, PLoS One, 10, (4) Article 0125015. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125015


Hormones have been suggested as a key proximate mechanism that organize and maintain consistent individual differences in behavioural traits such as aggression. The steroid hormone testosterone in particular has an important activational role in mediating short-term aggressive responses to social and environmental stimuli within many vertebrate systems. We conducted two complementary experiments designed to investigate the activational relationship between testosterone and aggression in male Egernia whitii, a social lizard species. First, we investigated whether a conspecific aggressive challenge induced a testosterone response and second, we artificially manipulated testosterone concentrations to examine whether this changed aggression levels. We found that at the mean level, plasma T concentration did not appear to be influenced by an aggression challenge. However, there was a slight indication that receiving a challenge may influence intra-individual consistency of plasma T concentrations, with individuals not receiving an aggression challenge maintaining consistency in their circulating testosterone concentrations, while those individuals that received a challenge did not. Manipulating circulating testosterone concentrations had no influence on either mean-level or individual-level aggression. Combined with our previous work, our study adds increasing evidence that the relationship between testosterone and aggression is not straightforward, and promotes the investigation of alternative hormonal pathways and differences in neuro-synthesis and neuroendocrine pathways to account for species variable testosterone - aggression links.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aggression, testosterone, lizard, social
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:McEvoy, J (Dr Joanne McEvoy)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
UTAS Author:Jones, SM (Professor Susan Jones)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:100144
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2015-05-04
Last Modified:2022-12-06
Downloads:336 View Download Statistics

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