The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2020 Impact Factor for the Herpetological Journal is 0.862

pdf 04. Effects of chronic corticosterone increases on the maternal behaviour of the prairie skink, Plestiodon septentrionalis


Open Access

pp. 123-126

Authors: Alexander J. Anton, Tracy Langkilde, Sean Graham & James D. Fawcett

Abstract: Maternal care behaviour is rare in reptiles and the hormonal control of this behaviour is less well known than in other vertebrates. The steroid hormone, corticosterone, suppresses maternal behaviour in avian species. We investigate whether corticosterone similarly affects maternal behaviour of a lizard. We artificially elevated corticosterone in female prairie lizards, Plestiodon septentrionalis, during egg brooding and assessed effects on maternal behaviour (versus females receiving a vehicle control). The application of exogenous corticosterone significantly decreased the amount of time that females spent in contact with their eggs. These results suggest that, as in birds, corticosterone acts to reduce maternal behaviours in reptiles. This provides important insight into the hormonal control of, and effects of stress on, parental care in reptiles.

Key words: Brooding, stress, eggs, hormone, lizard, parental care, reptile

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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.