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.

The 2017/18  impact factor of the Herpetological Journal is 1.268

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


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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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