Are hotshots always hot? A longitudinal study of hormones, behavior, and reproductive success in male marine iguanas

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2008
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Vitousek, Maren N.
Rubenstein, Dustin R.
Nelson, Karin N.
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Zusammenfassung

Polygynous lek-mating systems are characterized by high reproductive skew, with a small number of males gaining a disproportionate share of copulations. In lekking species, where female choice drives male mating success and patterns of reproductive skew, female preferences for good genes should lead to preferred males having high reproductive success in all years. Here we investigate whether these hotshot males have steroid hormone patterns that are consistent over time (between two mating seasons), and whether hormone levels consistently predict display behavior. We test these questions in the Galápagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus), a lekking vertebrate with high male reproductive skew. We found that male mating success and testosterone levels were not consistent across years. The most successful males showed an inverse relationship in copulation success between years. Similarly, territorial males that had high testosterone in one year had low levels in the next. Across years, testosterone was strongly associated with head-bob display, suggesting that this steroid plays a key role in mate attraction. These results suggest that female marine iguanas are not choosing the same hotshot males in every year, but instead base their reproductive decisions on male behavioral traits that are hormonally mediated and variable across years. By using testosterone to regulate their costly display behaviors male marine iguanas appear to have a mechanism that allows them to adjust their reproductive effort depending on extrinsic and/or intrinsic factors.

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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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Steroid hormones, Consistency, Repeatability, Physiology of behavior
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ISO 690VITOUSEK, Maren N., Dustin R. RUBENSTEIN, Karin N. NELSON, Martin WIKELSKI, 2008. Are hotshots always hot? A longitudinal study of hormones, behavior, and reproductive success in male marine iguanas. In: General and Comparative Endocrinology. 2008, 157(3), pp. 227-232. ISSN 0016-6480. eISSN 1095-6840. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2008.04.015
BibTex
@article{Vitousek2008hotsh-1227,
  year={2008},
  doi={10.1016/j.ygcen.2008.04.015},
  title={Are hotshots always hot? A longitudinal study of hormones, behavior, and reproductive success in male marine iguanas},
  number={3},
  volume={157},
  issn={0016-6480},
  journal={General and Comparative Endocrinology},
  pages={227--232},
  author={Vitousek, Maren N. and Rubenstein, Dustin R. and Nelson, Karin N. and Wikelski, Martin}
}
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