Brain and gonadal aromatase activity and steroid hormone levels in female and polymorphic males of the peacock blenny Salaria pavo

Hormones and Behavior
David GonçalvesRui F Oliveira


In the peacock blenny Salaria pavo large males with well-developed secondary sexual characters establish nests and attract females while small "sneaker" males mimic female sexual displays in order to approach the nests of larger males and parasitically fertilize eggs. These alternative reproductive tactics are sequential, as sneakers irreversibly switch into nesting males. This transition involves major morphologic and behavioral changes and is likely to be mediated by hormones. This study focuses on the role of aromatase, an enzyme that catalyses the conversion of androgens into estrogens, in the regulation of male sexual polymorphism in S. pavo. For this, sex steroid plasma levels and aromatase activity (AA) in gonads, whole brain and brain macroareas were determined in sneakers, transitional males (i.e. sneakers undergoing the transition into nesting males), nesting males and females collected in the field. AA was much higher in ovarian tissue than in testicular tissue and accordingly circulating estradiol levels were highest in females. This supports the view that elevated AA and estradiol levels are associated with the development of a functional ovary. Transitional males are in a non-reproductive phase and had underdevelo...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Behavior, Animal
Gonadal Structure
Nesting Behavior
Gonadal Steroid Hormones

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