Mar 7, 2009

Relationships between hormones, physiological performance and immunocompetence in a color-polymorphic lizard species, Podarcis melisellensis

Hormones and Behavior
Katleen HuygheBieke Vanhooydonck


Species with alternative phenotypes offer unique opportunities to investigate hormone-behavior relationships. We investigated the relationships between testosterone, corticosterone, morphology, performance, and immunity in a population of lizards (Podarcis melisellensis) which exhibits a color polymorphism. Males occur in three different color morphs (white, yellow, orange), providing an opportunity to test the idea of morphs being alternative solutions to the evolutionary challenges posed on the link between hormones, morphology, performance, and immunity. Morphs differed in bite force capacity, with orange males biting harder, and in corticosterone levels, with yellow males having lower levels than orange. However, morphs did not differ in testosterone levels or in the immunological parameters tested. At the individual level, across morphs, testosterone levels predicted size-corrected bite force capacity, but no relation was found between hormone levels and immunity. Our results do not support the testosterone-based polymorphism hypothesis and reject the hypothesis of a trade-off between testosterone and immunity in this species, but provide a mechanistic link between testosterone and a sexually selected performance trait.

Mentioned in this Paper

Serum Hormone Levels (Lab Test)
Corticosterone Assay
Testosterone Measurement
Uta stansburiana
Urosaurus ornatus
Dihydrotestosterone Assay

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