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11-ketotestosterone inhibits the alternative mating tactic in sneaker males of the peacock blenny, Salaria pavo

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In the peacock blenny, Salaria pavo, a species with courtship sex-role reversal, smaller, younger males mimic the courtship behavior and the nuptial coloration of females in order to get access to nests during spawning and to parasitize egg fertilization from nest-holder males. Later in their life, sneakers transform both morphologically and behaviorally into nest-holder males. In the present paper we investigate the activational role of 11-ketotestosterone (KT), the most potent androgen in most teleost species, to promote the switch between tactics in sneaker males of S. pavo. Sneakers were implanted either with KT or with control (i.e. castor oil) silastic implants. A week after implantation they were subjected to a set of behavioral tests and morphometric measurements. KT treatment promoted the differentiation of secondary sex characters, such as the anal glands, and inhibited the expression of female courtship behavior. KT-treated sneakers also showed a trend toward less frequent display of female nuptial coloration. There was no effect of KT treatment on the expression of typical nest-holder male behavior. Finally, there was no effect of KT treatment on the number or soma size of arginine vasotocin neurons in the preoptic area, which are often associated with the expression of vertebrate sexual behavior. Thus, KT seems to play a key role in mating tactic switching by inhibiting the expression of female courtship behavior and by promoting the development of male displaying traits (e.g. anal glands). The lack of a KT effect on behavior typical of nest-holding males and vasotocinergic preoptic neurons suggests that a longer time frame or other endocrine/social signals are needed for the initiation of these traits in males that are switching tactics.



Fish Relative plasticity hypothesis Arginine vasotocin 11-Ketotestosterone Androgens Alternative reproductive tactic


Oliveira, Rui F.; Carneiro, Luis A.; Gonçalves, David M.; Canario, Adelino V.M.; Grober, Matthew S. 11-Ketotestosterone Inhibits the Alternative Mating Tactic in Sneaker Males of the Peacock Blenny, Salaria pavo, Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 58, 1, 28-37, 2001.

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