IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Endogenous testosterone is not associated with the trade-off between paternal and mating effort

Listed author(s):
  • Cas Eikenaar
  • Megan Whitham
  • Jan Komdeur
  • Marco van der Velde
  • Ignacio T. Moore
Registered author(s):

    Males may face a trade-off between caring for offspring and pursuing additional matings. In birds, the androgen testosterone has been suggested to be a key proximate mediator in this trade-off for several reasons. At the population level, high testosterone is typically associated with the period of intense male--male competition over females, whereas low testosterone is associated with the period of paternal care. In addition, males with experimentally elevated testosterone during provisioning feed their young at a lower rate than control males. Nearly all studies observing these patterns, however, ignore the tremendous variation in endogenous testosterone concentration that exists within a population of males, even during the same breeding stage. Because selection acts at the level of individual, this variation has to be taken into account when studying proximate mechanisms mediating the paternal and mating effort trade-off. Studying barn swallows we here show that, within males, testosterone concentrations were not higher around the fertile period of the social mate than during nestling feeding. More importantly, 30% of males showed no decrease in testosterone concentration between these 2 periods. Further, male feeding effort was not related to testosterone concentration during feeding. These results indicate that, at least in barn swallows, endogenous testosterone is not a key mediator in the trade-off between paternal effort and mating effort. Our results also stress that to understand how selection has shaped temporal testosterone profiles and action, it is crucial to study the relationship between testosterone and traits contributing to fitness at the level of the individual. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

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

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 601-608

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:3:p:601-608
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:3:p:601-608. 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)

    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.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.