Non-invasive assessment of glucocorticoid and androgen metabolite levels in cooperatively breeding Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis)

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dc.contributor.author Medger, Katarina
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.author Lutermann, Heike
dc.contributor.author Ganswindt, Andre
dc.date.accessioned 2018-07-10T08:10:33Z
dc.date.issued 2018-09
dc.description.abstract Dominant females of cooperative breeding species often use aggression to suppress reproduction of subordinate females, resulting in subordinates experiencing stress-related increases in glucocorticoid levels, which may cause reproductive down-regulation. This would suggest a general pattern with higher glucocorticoid levels in subordinate compared to dominant individuals; however, the opposite was found in a number of cooperatively breeding species. Furthermore, breeding females of the cooperatively breeding Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis) exhibit very high androgen concentrations during the wet season, presumably to support their breeding monopoly. Hormone analysis in Damaraland mole-rats have typically been measured using plasma and urine, but faecal analysis offers additional advantages especially for field studies on this species. The present study examines the suitability of Damaraland mole-rat faecal samples for determining glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) and androgen metabolite (fAM) concentrations using enzyme immunoassays. Using these assays, we further evaluated the effects of breeding status on fGCM and fAM concentrations in wild-caught and captive Damaraland mole-rats. Wild-caught breeding and non-breeding males and females exhibited no differences in fAM concentrations. Immunoreactive fGCM concentrations were only high in male breeders and comparatively low in non-breeders and breeding females. Concentrations of fAMs and fGCMs were similar in captive males and females, but fAM concentrations were elevated in captive compared to wild-caught individuals, which may be related to a higher reproductive activity due to removal from the breeding female. The relatively uniform fAM and fGCM concentrations found in wild-caught mole-rats may be explained by a stable colony structure during the dry season during which this study was conducted. Limited dispersal opportunities result in lower aggression and stress levels within a colony and as a result lower fAM and fGCM concentrations. en_ZA
dc.description.department Anatomy and Physiology en_ZA
dc.description.department Mammal Research Institute en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2019-09-15
dc.description.librarian hj2018 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship A South African Research Chair of Mammalian Behavioural Ecology and Physiology awarded to Nigel C. Bennett by DST and NRF. K. Medger and H. Lutermann acknowledge funding by the University of Pretoria. en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ygcen en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Medger, K., Bennett, N.C., Lutermann, H. & Ganswindt, A. 2018, 'Non-invasive assessment of glucocorticoid and androgen metabolite levels in cooperatively breeding Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis)', General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 266, pp. 202-210. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0016-6480 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1095-6840 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.05.018
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/65347
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Elsevier en_ZA
dc.rights © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in General and Comparative Endocrinology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. A definitive version was subsequently published in General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 266, pp. 202-210, 2018. doi : 10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.05.018. en_ZA
dc.subject Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) en_ZA
dc.subject Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) en_ZA
dc.subject Fecal androgen metabolite (fAM) en_ZA
dc.subject Reproduction en_ZA
dc.subject Adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation (ACTH) en_ZA
dc.subject ACTH challenge en_ZA
dc.subject Non-breeder en_ZA
dc.subject Breede en_ZA
dc.title Non-invasive assessment of glucocorticoid and androgen metabolite levels in cooperatively breeding Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis) en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA


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