Title

Seasonal Variation in Testosterone and Performance in Non-Territorial Male Lizards

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-16-2010

Publication Title

Physiology & Behavior

DOI

10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.03.014

ISSN

0031-9384

Abstract

The ability to perform key behaviors, particularly those associated with reproduction, has been linked to reproductive success. However, it remains unclear as to which underlying mechanisms govern variation in the performance capacities of these behaviors. Due to its ability to mediate physiological and morphological changes, the steroid hormone testosterone has been hypothesized to influence performance. This hypothesis, however, has not been tested in a broad range of taxa or mating systems. In this study, seasonal patterns of bite force and locomotor performance were quantified concurrently with circulating testosterone levels in males of a non-territorial polygynous lizard species (Aspidoscelis sexlineata). Bite force and one measure of locomotor performance were significantly greater in the breeding season than in the post-breeding season, and this seasonal variation in performance was correlated with seasonal changes in testosterone levels. These results suggest that the performance capacities of behaviors important for acquiring mating opportunities in this species are maximized during the breeding season by elevated testosterone levels.

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