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Testosterone and testes size in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Abstract

The steroid hormone testosterone (T) mediates the expression of many secondary sexual characters, including behaviors which influence male reproductive success. Testes are one of the major sources of androgens, in particular of T. Although a positive relationship between testes size and T levels could be hypothesized, it has rarely been tested intraspecifically. We investigated this link in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) using a double-antibody radioimmuno-assay to measure hormone levels and X-rays to determine testes size. Here, we report a positive correlation between both traits in a group of 13 drakes during the reproductive season.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Anne Peters for invaluable assistance throughout this study and helpful comments on a previous version of the manuscript. This study was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (fellowship to AD), the German Research Council (DFG Grant: KE 867/2-1 to BK) and the Max-Planck Society. The experiment was conducted in accordance with the German law of animal welfare.

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Correspondence to Bart Kempenaers.

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Communicated by F. Bairlein

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Denk, A.G., Kempenaers, B. Testosterone and testes size in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). J Ornithol 147, 436–440 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-005-0031-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-005-0031-7

Keywords

  • Anas platyrhynchos
  • Extra-pair paternity
  • Mallard
  • Testes size
  • Testosterone