Testosterone stimulates the expression of male-typical socio-sexual and song behaviors in female budgerigars (**Melopsittacus undulatus**) : an experimental study
The hormonal control of sex differences in behavior has been extensively studied, particularly in mammals and birds. Studies have shown that the activational potential of the androgenic sex steroid testosterone (T) on male-typical behaviors in females seems to be species- as well as behavior-specific in birds. It is therefore important to study the activational effects of T in a great variety of bird species and on a wide range of behaviors, preferably in social conditions that favor their expression. Here, we investigated the activational effects of T on vocal, socio-sexual (i.e. affiliative and non-vocal courtship behaviors), aggressive and approach behavior in females of the budgerigar, Melopsittacus undulatus, a highly social monogamous parrot species. We experimentally supplemented T-females with male-like plasma T levels compared to controls. First, we observed females when they were individually housed. We found that Tfemales performed male-like levels of warbling song, sang significantly longer, but not more song bouts and produced more socio-sexual behaviors than controls. Then, we consecutively confronted females with a female, a dummy, and a male conspecific. T-females showed a significantly shorter latency to interact in all three social contexts. In both intrasexual and intersexual contexts, T-females performed significantly higher levels of approach and socio-sexual behavior, including mounting (attempts), a strictly male behavior, which was not observed in control females. Aggression in a non-reproductive context did not appear to be sensitive to T supplementation. Our data indicate that in the budgerigar even marked sex differences in socio-sexual behavior may depend on the activational effects of T, while this is generally not the case in other species.
Source (journal)
General and comparative endocrinology. - New York
General and comparative endocrinology. - New York
New York : 2012
178(2012), p. 82-88
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Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
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Web of Science
Creation 30.05.2012
Last edited 08.07.2017
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