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Correlation between plasma steroids and chick visits by nonbreeding adult Nazca boobies

Summary: Correlation between plasma steroids and chick visits by nonbreeding
adult Nazca boobies
Elisa M. Tarlow,a
Martin Wikelski,b,
* and David J. Andersonc
Department of Biology, 505 S. Goodwin Ave., University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 303 Guyot Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1003, USA
Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7325, USA
Received 3 October 2001; revised 3 May 2002; accepted 28 October 2002
Nonbreeding adult Nazca boobies (Sula granti) often approach unattended chicks and perform parental and/or aggressive behaviors
toward the chicks. Earlier descriptions of these encounters included sexual behaviors as well. We studied hormonal correlates of chick visits
by such nonbreeding boobies during the breeding season. We compared the hormonal status of chick-visiting adults with that of nonvisiting
adults in the colony. We determined levels of corticosterone (CORT), testosterone (T), androstendione, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol
as potential candidate hormones controlling parental, aggressive, or sexual behavior. Only T and CORT differed between chick-visiting and
nonvisiting adults. Chick-visiting adults had higher CORT levels after the interaction than nonvisiting adults randomly caught in the colony.
To the contrary. T levels after interactions were lower in chick-visiting compared to random nonvisiting adults. T levels, however, did not


Source: Anderson, David J. - Department of Biology, Wake Forest University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology