Apr 29, 2020

Testosterone induces a female ornament followed by enhanced territoriality in a tropical songbird

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jordan BoersmaH. Schwabl


We know little of the proximate mechanisms underlying expression of signaling traits in female vertebrates. Across males the expression of sexual and competitive traits, including ornamentation and aggressive behavior, is often mediated by testosterone. In the White-shouldered Fairywren (Malurus alboscapulatus) of New Guinea, females of different subspecies differ in presence or absence of white shoulder patches and melanic plumage, while males are uniformly ornamented. Previous work has shown that ornamented females circulate more testosterone and exhibit more territorial aggression than do unornamented females. We investigated the degree to which testosterone regulates expression of ornamental plumage and territorial behavior by implanting free-living unornamented females with testosterone. Every testosterone-treated female produced a male-like cloacal protuberance, and 15 of 20 replaced plucked brown feathers with white shoulder patch feathers, but did not produce melanic plumage characteristic of ornamented females. Testosterone treatment did not elevate territorial behavior prior to production of the plumage ornament and exhaustion of the implant. However, females with experimentally induced ornamentation, but exhausted im...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Gene Polymorphism
Mathematical Formula
High-Throughput RNA Sequencing
Genetic Polymorphism

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