Does testis size in cuckoos vary with paternal care?

Maurer, Golo and Blomberg, Simon (2009) Does testis size in cuckoos vary with paternal care?. The Auk, 127 1: 24-30. doi:10.1525/auk.2009.07185

Author Maurer, Golo
Blomberg, Simon
Title Does testis size in cuckoos vary with paternal care?
Journal name The Auk   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8038
Publication date 2009-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1525/auk.2009.07185
Volume 127
Issue 1
Start page 24
End page 30
Total pages 7
Editor Mark Penrose
Place of publication USA
Publisher University of California Press, Journals Division
Language eng
Subject C1
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
060801 Animal Behaviour
Formatted abstract
Male birds confront a tradeoff between increasing the number of offspring they sire and providing parental care. This behavioral tradeoff may be manifested as variation in testis size: larger testes, producing more sperm and testosterone, are advantageous for sperm and mating competition, thus ensuring paternity, yet high levels of plasma testosterone also inhibit parental care. There is good evidence that relative testis size is greater in species in which males compete more intensely to fertilize females, but it remains unclear whether, in turn, smaller testes prevail in species with greater levels of paternal care. Cuckoos provide an opportunity to test for an effect of paternal care on testis size because of the diversity of breeding systems in this family: parasitic species lack parental care altogether, whereas some coucals (Centropodinae) show exclusively or predominantly male care. In addition, coucals have a reduced left testis, which Ligon (1997) suggested may promote male care. We tested the idea that species with more paternal care have smaller testes in a phylogenetic analysis of 18 parasitic and 15 nonparasitic species and, specifically, quantified the reduction of the mass of the left testis in the Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus). Contrary to expectation, nesting cuckoos had larger testes than parasitic species and coucals compensated the reduction of the left testis by an increase of the right. These findings suggest that plasma testosterone is regulated independently of testis size and paternal care is not associated with testis size in cuckoos.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 22 Apr 2010, 00:03:19 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences