Endocrine control of sexual behavior in sneaker males of the peacock blenny Salaria pavo: effects of castration, aromatase inhibition, testosterone and estradiol

Hormones and Behavior
David GonçalvesRui F Oliveira


The effects of castration and sex steroid manipulations on the expression of sexual behavior were investigated in a small fish, the peacock blenny, Salaria pavo. In this species, large males defend nests and attract females while small "sneaker" males reproduce by imitating the female morphology and courtship behavior in order to approach nests during spawning events and parasitically fertilize eggs. Sneakers switch into nest holders in their second breeding season, thus displaying both male and female-like sexual behavior during their lifetime. We tested the effects of castration and of an aromatase inhibitor (Fadrozole, F), testosterone (T) or 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) implants on the expression of male and female-like behavior in sneakers. Sneakers were either sham-operated, castrated or castrated and implanted with vehicle, F, T+F or E(2)+F. Seven days after the treatment, sneakers were placed in a tank with a nesting male, two ripe females and an available nest. Castrated fish had lower levels of circulating T and increased the time spent displaying female typical nuptial coloration. T implants had the opposite effect, inhibiting the expression of female-like behavior and coloration. E(2) implants had no significant effect o...Continue Reading


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