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Aggression, but not testosterone, is associated to oxidative status in a free-living vertebrate


Isaksson, C and While, GM and McEvoy, J and van de Commenacker, J and Olsson, M and Groothuis, TGG and Komdeur, J and Wapstra, E, Aggression, but not testosterone, is associated to oxidative status in a free-living vertebrate, Behaviour: An International Journal of Behaviourial Biology, 148, (5-6) pp. 713-731. ISSN 0005-7959 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2011 Brill

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DOI: doi:10.1163/000579511X574204


Aggression often shows large inter-individual variation, but high intra-individual consistency. Although the physiological basis and direct costs of aggression are generally well known, less is known about the physiological costs such as increased oxidative stress (OS). This can occur via increased leakage of oxidants during high metabolic demands such as physical activity, or by hormones regulating both metabolism and aggression. Here we address this within a natural population of White’s skinks, Egernia whitii; a species in which both sexes exhibit consistent aggressive phenotypes, and sex-specific associations between testosterone and ag- gression. The results reveal that males’ aggressive phenotype, independent of testosterone, was positively associated with antioxidant capacity (OXY), while there was no significant association in females. Oxidative damage (ROM) and oxidative stress index (OI), were not influenced by aggressive phenotype or testosterone, but showed borderline positive associa- tions with body size (i.e., age). The results failed to show that high testosterone increases OS. Instead, OS may be related to sex-specific behavioural patterns associated with aggressive phenotype such as territory and mate acquisition. Although experimental work is needed to identify the causal links for these patterns, the results highlight the need to consider proximate mechanisms to understand constraints on phenotypic variation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiology - systems
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
UTAS Author:McEvoy, J (Dr Joanne McEvoy)
UTAS Author:Wapstra, E (Associate Professor Erik Wapstra)
ID Code:70823
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-07-04
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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