Male rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa) were collected from the same natural population every second week from early April to mid-June. They were either field-tested for their sexual responsiveness or used to measure the plasma concentrations of androgens and corticosterone, the brain concentrations of immunoreactive (ir) gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and arginine vasotocin (AVT), and morphological parameters. During the experimental period, the percentage of sexually responsive males gradually declined from 100 to 4%, concurrent with a decrease of plasma concentrations of androgens, but not corticosterone. Concentrations of irGnRH in two brain regions (medial septum; ventral telencephalon containing the nervus terminalis) did not change significantly during this time. In the infundibulum, irGnRH concentrations increased from the end of May to mid-June, which coincided with an increase in plasma androgen concentrations, a marked increase in testis weights, and a decrease of the proportion of males with spermatozoa in their vas deferens. During this period, no changes in irAVT concentrations in four brain regions (infundibulum; pars distalis of the pituitary; interpeduncular nucleus; cerebrospinal fluid) were detected, but significant changes were observed for irAVT in the dorsal preoptic area that were not correlated with the seasonal changes in behavior. Also, during this period, there were decreases in mean body weight and tail height, and in the proportion of males with smooth skin and dark nuptial pads. These results are discussed in view of our current knowledge of the endocrine mechanisms that regulate sexual behaviors and secondary sex characteristics in male amphibians.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Behavioral Neuroscience