IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Yolk androstenedione, but not testosterone, predicts offspring fate and reflects parental quality


  • Gergely Hegyi
  • Márton Herényi
  • Eszter Szöllősi
  • Balázs Rosivall
  • János Török
  • Ton G.G. Groothuis


Yolk androgen deposition is a widely investigated maternal effect in birds, but its adaptive value is at present unclear. The offspring fitness correlates of natural yolk androgen levels are virtually unknown, whereas manipulations largely focused on testosterone and neglected other androgens. We determined yolk concentrations of the 2 dominant androgens, androstenedione and testosterone, from all eggs in collared flycatcher clutches and followed the fate of individual offspring from these eggs in a crossfostering experiment. Yolk concentration of androstenedione was much higher than that of testosterone. Offspring from eggs with relatively higher androstenedione concentrations within a clutch were relatively large after hatching, grew slower thereafter, and had a higher recruitment rate in subsequent years. The increase of androstenedione with laying order and its within-clutch variance were negatively correlated with a condition-dependent female ornament, perhaps indicating compensatory hormone deposition into later hatching eggs by females in low condition. Yolk testosterone variation within or among clutches was not related to any measured aspect of offspring or parental quality. Our results suggest that in some species, especially those with much more androstenedione than testosterone in the yolk, androstenedione and not testosterone may be the yolk androgen with a long-term function and adaptive deposition pattern. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gergely Hegyi & Márton Herényi & Eszter Szöllősi & Balázs Rosivall & János Török & Ton G.G. Groothuis, 2011. "Yolk androstenedione, but not testosterone, predicts offspring fate and reflects parental quality," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(1), pages 29-38.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:29-38

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bates, Douglas & Mächler, Martin & Bolker, Ben & Walker, Steve, 2015. "Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using lme4," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 67(i01).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:beheco:v:28:y:2017:i:5:p:1359-1368. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:29-38. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.