Effects of chronic corticosterone increases on the maternbehaviour of the prairie skink, plestiodon septentrionalis

Alexander J. Anton, Tracy Lee Langkilde, Sean Graham, James D. Fawcett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Maternal care behaviour is rare in reptiles and the hormonal control of this behaviour is less well known than in othvertebrates. The steroid hormone, corticosterone, suppresses maternal behaviour in avian species. We investigate whethcorticosterone similarly affects maternal behaviour of a lizard. We artificially elevated corticosterone in female prairie lizardPlestiodon septentrionalis, during egg brooding and assessed effects on maternal behaviour (versus females receiving vehicle control). The application of exogenous corticosterone significantly decreased the amount of time that females spein contact with their eggs. These results suggest that, as in birds, corticosterone acts to reduce maternal behaviours reptiles. This provides important insight into the hormonal control of, and effects of stress on, parental care in reptiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-126
Number of pages4
JournalHerpetological Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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