|Effects of androgens on social behavior and morphology of alternative reproductive males of the Azorean rock-pool blenny.
|Oliveira, RF, Carneiro, LA, Canario, AVM, Grober, MS
|Year of Publication
|Aggression, Androgens, Animals, Female, Fishes, Genitalia, Male, Male, Nesting Behavior, Phenotype, Reproduction, Sexual Behavior, Animal, Social Behavior, Testosterone
In the Azorean rock-pool blenny Parablennius sanguinolentus parvicornis two sequential reproductive tactics occur. Larger and older males establish breeding territories, while some of the smaller males become attached to nest-holder territories, acting as satellites on these territories, which they help to defend while trying parasitic fertilizations when females go in the nests to spawn. In the present paper we tested the effects of the androgens 17alpha-methyltestosterone (MT) and 11-ketotestosterone (KT) in the expression of male secondary sex characters and bourgeois behavior in satellite males. One week after satellites were implanted with Silastic tubes containing MT, KT, or castor oil (control), androgen-treated satellites had developed male secondary sex traits such as longer and wider male-type genital papilla and anal glands that secrete a sex pheromone, both traits being less expressed or absent, respectively, in satellite males. Androgen treatment had no effect on the gonadosomatic index or on the development of the testicular gland. KT treatment had a positive effect on relative liver weight. In terms of behavior, androgen-implanted individuals were less aggressive both in a mirror test and toward females when these were introduced into their tanks. MT-treated individuals spend more time inside the provided nests. Only androgen-implanted satellites managed to have the females entering their nests. When given a chance in a group tank either to try to attract females to their own nest or to act as satellites of an already established nest-holder's nest, MT-implanted males spent significantly more time in their own nest than near the nest-holder nest. These data suggest that androgens, particularly testosterone, may be involved in mating tactic switching in this species.