In order to document sex differences in adrenal function and how this relates to gonadal function during the period of seasonal activity, blood samples from male and female six‐lined racerunners, Cnemidophorus sexlineatus, were taken immediately after capture in the field for determination of plasma corticosterone and gonadal steroid concentrations. Plasma testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels for males, and 17β‐estradiol and progesterone levels for females, were measured. Trends in the concentration of plasma corticosterone differed significantly between males and females. In males the highest concentrations of corticosterone were measured in late spring and the lowest concentrations were measured in late summer. Whereas half of the variation in corticosterone levels among males could be explained as seasonal change, less than 1% of the variation among females could be explained as seasonal change. In males plasma corticosterone and androgens exhibited similar seasonal decreases. Corticosterone levels for females were not correlated with progesterone or 17β‐estradiol levels. Sex differences in seasonal variation in plasma corticosterone concentrations suggest that corticosterone may be involved in the different reproductive strategies and energy requirements of males and females during the seasonal period of activity. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology