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Sex steroid hormones in natural populations of a sexual whiptail lizard Cnemidophorus inornatus, a direct evolutionary ancestor of a unisexual parthenogen.

Authors
  • Moore, M C
  • Crews, D
Type
Published Article
Journal
General and comparative endocrinology
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1986
Volume
63
Issue
3
Pages
424–430
Identifiers
PMID: 3557067
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The lizard genus Cnemidophorus consists of both sexual species and unisexual, all-female species. We characterized changes in circulating levels of gonadal sex steroid hormones in males and females in one of the sexual species, C. inornatus, to compare them to previously measured levels in a unisexual, parthenogenetic species, C. uniparens. Reproductively active male C. inornatus have high levels of dihydrotestosterone and somewhat lower levels of testosterone. These levels are highest immediately after females become sexually receptive and decrease later at the onset of testicular regression. Female C. inornatus have high levels of estradiol and low levels of progesterone during the previtellogenic and vitellogenic phases of the ovarian cycle. During the postovulatory phase, they have low levels of estradiol and high levels of progesterone. We could not detect circulating levels of androgen at any phase of the ovarian cycle. The patterns of hormone secretion in the female C. inornatus are virtually identical to those of its direct evolutionary descendant, C. uniparens. This confirms our previous conclusion that the evolution of the parthenogenetic mode of reproduction and expression of male-like pseudosexual behavior that are characteristic of the unisexual C. uniparens has not been accomplished by evolutionary modifications in the pattern of sex steroid hormone secretion. Rather it is the response to this pattern of secretion that has been modified.

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