Testosterone and the Allocation of Reproductive Effort in Male House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Journal:Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Date Published:2000
ISBN Number:03405443
Keywords:Carpodacus, Carpodacus mexicanus, Fringillidae, Haemorhous, Haemorhous mexicanus
Abstract:Testosterone has been proposed to serve as the mediator that controls the relative effort that an individual male bird will devote to mating effort versus parental effort. Here, we demonstrate a testosterone-influenced trade-off between parental and mating efforts in male house finches. Male house finches with experimentally elevated testosterone fed nestlings at a significantly lower rate, but sang at a higher rate than males without manipulated testosterone levels. Females mated to testosterone-implanted males fed nestlings at a significantly higher rate than females mated to males without testosterone implants, resulting in similar feeding rates for both treated and untreated pairs. The effects of testosterone on male house finches, however, were not as dramatic as the effects of testosterone observed in some other socially monogamous species of birds. Because extra-pair copulations are uncommon in house finches and males provide substantial amounts of parental care, these more modest effects may be due to differences in how the allocation of reproductive effort affects the costs and benefits of different reproductive behaviors.
Short Title:Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith