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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


SOTO- GAMBOA, MAURICIO. Free and total testosterone levels in field males of Octodon degus (Rodentia, Octodontidae): accuracy of the hormonal regulation of behavior. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2005, vol.78, n.2, pp.229-238. ISSN 0716-078X.

Animals exhibit continuous seasonal changes in physiological, morphological and behavioral traits associated to their natural annual cycles. One of the most important changes in the organism occurs at the initiation of breeding season. In males these changes include activation of spermatogenesis, enhance of sexual secondary characters and an increase of aggressiveness. All of theses changes are basically regulated by testosterone, but the physiological basis of this testosterone regulation and the effective hormone proportion that acts in target tissues are unknown. In this work I evaluated the relationship between total testosterone, free testosterone associated to aggressive behavior in wild males of Octodon degus. I compared hormonal levels and aggressive behavior during pre, middle and post breeding periods. Results showed that behavioral aggressiveness was correlated with both total and free testosterone in June, during the beginning of breeding season, but not at other times. Results also indicated a lack of relationship between free and total testosterone in most of breeding period. I discuss the importance of this behavior-hormonal regulation (determined by free testosterone) and the physiological importance of this mechanism to the organism

Keywords : free testosterone; total testosterone; globulin; binding-proteins; aggressive behavior; challenge hypothesis; Octodon degus.

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