Document details

Dear Enemies Elicit Lower Androgen Responses to Territorial Challenges than Unfamiliar Intruders in a Cichlid Fish

Author(s): Aires, Rui F. ; Oliveira, Gonçalo A. ; Oliveira, Tânia F. ; Ros, Albert F. H. ; Oliveira, Rui F.

Date: 2015

Persistent ID:

Origin: ARCA - Access to Research and Communication Annals

Project/scholarship: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/3599-PPCDT/129982/PT ;

Subject(s): androgens; urine


In many territorial species androgen hormones are known to increase in response to territorial intrusions as a way to adjust the expression of androgen-dependent behaviour to social challenges. The dear enemy effect has also been described in territorial species and posits that resident individuals show a more aggressive response to intrusions by strangers than by other territorial neighbours. Therefore, we hypothesized that the dear enemy effect may also modulate the androgen response to a territorial intrusion. Here we tested this hypothesis in male cichlid fish (Mozambique tilapia, Oreochromis mossambicus) using a paradigm of four repeated territorial intrusions, either by the same neighbour or by four different unfamiliar intruders. Neighbour intruders elicited lower aggression and a weaker androgen response than strangers on the first intrusion of the experiment. With repeated intrusions, the agonistic behaviour of the resident males against familiar intruders was similar to that displayed towards strangers. By the fourth intrusion the androgen response was significantly reduced and there was no longer a difference between the responses to the two types of intruders. These results suggest that the dear enemy effect modulates the androgen response to territorial intrusions and that repeated intrusions lead to a habituation of the androgen response.

Document Type Journal article
Language English
Contributor(s) Aires, Rui F.; Oliveira, Gonçalo A.; Oliveira, Tânia F.; Ros, Albert F. H.; Oliveira, Rui F.
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