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Data from: An experimental test of the relationship between yolk testosterone and the social environment in a colonial passerine

Citation

Bentz, Alexandra B.; Andreasen, Victoria A.; Navara, Kristen J. (2018), Data from: An experimental test of the relationship between yolk testosterone and the social environment in a colonial passerine, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.42tv030

Abstract

Maternal hormones can be transferred to offspring during prenatal development in response to the maternal social environment, and may adaptively alter offspring phenotype. For example, numerous avian studies show that aggressive competition with conspecifics tends to result in females allocating more testosterone to their egg yolks, and this may cause offspring to have more competitive phenotypes. However, deviations from this pattern of maternal testosterone allocation are found, largely in studies of colonial species, and have yet to be explained. Colonial species may have different life-history constraints causing different yolk testosterone allocation strategies in response to conspecific competition, but few studies have experimentally tested whether colonial species do indeed differ from that of solitary species. To test this, we collected eggs from zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), a colonial species, in the presence and absence of conspecific intrusions. Females did not alter the concentration of testosterone deposited in eggs laid during intrusions despite becoming more aggressive. These results suggest that maternal effects are not characterized by a uniform response to the social environment, but rather need to be contextualized with life-history traits.

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