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Hormonal correlates of parental behavior in yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)

Setiawan, A.N., Davis, L.S., Darby, J.T., Lokman, P.M., Young, G., Blackberry, M.A., Cannell, B.L. and Martin, G.B. (2006) Hormonal correlates of parental behavior in yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 145 (3). pp. 357-362.

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Penguins show varying degrees of brood reduction behavior, from obligate brood reducers to brood maximizers, and we hypothesize that this is associated with differences in prolactin secretion. To address this hypothesis, we determined the breeding season prolactin profile of the yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) for comparison with those of other penguin species found in the literature. We also measured sex steroid plasma concentrations to better characterize the reproductive cycle of the species. Plasma concentrations of prolactin increased from early in the season, reaching a peak during late incubation, and remained elevated up to the guard period. This general pattern was similar to that of other penguins for which we have corresponding data. However, we found that throughout the laying period, prolactin titers in yellow-eyed penguins remained elevated while they fell to basal levels after the laying of the first egg in macaroni penguins, which corresponds to differences in incubation behavior during this time. We conclude, therefore, that differences in the brood reduction behavior in penguins, may be reflected in the pattern of PRL concentrations around the time of egg laying.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
Copyright: © 2006 Elsevier Inc.
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