An androgenic endocrine disruptor alters male mating behaviour in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

Michael Grant Bertram, Minna Mari Saaristo, Tiarne E. Ecker, John Baumgartner, Bob B.M. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Hormonally active chemical pollution threatens human and wildlife populations globally. However, despite the well-established capacity of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to alter reproductive traits, relatively few studies have examined the impacts of EDCs on mechanisms of sexual selection. This study investigated the effects of short-term exposure to an environmentally realistic level of 17β-trenbolone—a potent anabolic steroid used in livestock production worldwide—on male mate preference, reproductive behavior, and morphology in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Male guppies prefer to mate with larger females because such females are generally more fecund. Hence, males gain direct fitness benefits by being choosy. Here, we found no significant effect of 17β-trenbolone exposure on male courting behavior, with both unexposed and exposed males courting larger females more often. However, exposure to 17β-trenbolone significantly altered the amount of coercive copulatory behavior (“sneak” matings) performed. Specifically, while both unexposed and exposed males demonstrated a preference for larger females by conducting more sneaking attempts toward these females, exposed males carried out a greater number of sneaks toward large females than did unexposed males. Further, exposure resulted in increased male condition index (i.e., mass relative to length). Together, our results show for the first time that 17β-trenbolone can alter reproductive behavior and morphology in male fish at concentrations as low as 4 ng/L, highlighting the potential for disruption of reproductive processes in wildlife exposed to this potent agricultural contaminant.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255–1263
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • agricultural pollution
  • endocrine disrupting chemical
  • pharmaceutical
  • reproductive behavior
  • sexual selection
  • trenbolone

Cite this

Bertram, Michael Grant ; Saaristo, Minna Mari ; Ecker, Tiarne E. ; Baumgartner, John ; Wong, Bob B.M. / An androgenic endocrine disruptor alters male mating behaviour in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). In: Behavioral Ecology. 2018 ; Vol. 29, No. 6. pp. 1255–1263.
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abstract = "Hormonally active chemical pollution threatens human and wildlife populations globally. However, despite the well-established capacity of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to alter reproductive traits, relatively few studies have examined the impacts of EDCs on mechanisms of sexual selection. This study investigated the effects of short-term exposure to an environmentally realistic level of 17β-trenbolone—a potent anabolic steroid used in livestock production worldwide—on male mate preference, reproductive behavior, and morphology in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Male guppies prefer to mate with larger females because such females are generally more fecund. Hence, males gain direct fitness benefits by being choosy. Here, we found no significant effect of 17β-trenbolone exposure on male courting behavior, with both unexposed and exposed males courting larger females more often. However, exposure to 17β-trenbolone significantly altered the amount of coercive copulatory behavior (“sneak” matings) performed. Specifically, while both unexposed and exposed males demonstrated a preference for larger females by conducting more sneaking attempts toward these females, exposed males carried out a greater number of sneaks toward large females than did unexposed males. Further, exposure resulted in increased male condition index (i.e., mass relative to length). Together, our results show for the first time that 17β-trenbolone can alter reproductive behavior and morphology in male fish at concentrations as low as 4 ng/L, highlighting the potential for disruption of reproductive processes in wildlife exposed to this potent agricultural contaminant.",
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An androgenic endocrine disruptor alters male mating behaviour in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). / Bertram, Michael Grant; Saaristo, Minna Mari; Ecker, Tiarne E.; Baumgartner, John; Wong, Bob B.M.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 29, No. 6, 11.2018, p. 1255–1263.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - An androgenic endocrine disruptor alters male mating behaviour in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

AU - Bertram, Michael Grant

AU - Saaristo, Minna Mari

AU - Ecker, Tiarne E.

AU - Baumgartner, John

AU - Wong, Bob B.M.

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Y1 - 2018/11

N2 - Hormonally active chemical pollution threatens human and wildlife populations globally. However, despite the well-established capacity of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to alter reproductive traits, relatively few studies have examined the impacts of EDCs on mechanisms of sexual selection. This study investigated the effects of short-term exposure to an environmentally realistic level of 17β-trenbolone—a potent anabolic steroid used in livestock production worldwide—on male mate preference, reproductive behavior, and morphology in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Male guppies prefer to mate with larger females because such females are generally more fecund. Hence, males gain direct fitness benefits by being choosy. Here, we found no significant effect of 17β-trenbolone exposure on male courting behavior, with both unexposed and exposed males courting larger females more often. However, exposure to 17β-trenbolone significantly altered the amount of coercive copulatory behavior (“sneak” matings) performed. Specifically, while both unexposed and exposed males demonstrated a preference for larger females by conducting more sneaking attempts toward these females, exposed males carried out a greater number of sneaks toward large females than did unexposed males. Further, exposure resulted in increased male condition index (i.e., mass relative to length). Together, our results show for the first time that 17β-trenbolone can alter reproductive behavior and morphology in male fish at concentrations as low as 4 ng/L, highlighting the potential for disruption of reproductive processes in wildlife exposed to this potent agricultural contaminant.

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KW - agricultural pollution

KW - endocrine disrupting chemical

KW - pharmaceutical

KW - reproductive behavior

KW - sexual selection

KW - trenbolone

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JF - Behavioral Ecology

SN - 1045-2249

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