Abstract

Although initially it was thought that testosterone inhibited the display of paternal behavior in males of rodents, it has been shown that in some species high testosterone levels are needed for exhibition of paternal care. In captivity, males of Volcano Mouse (Neotomodon alstoni) provide pups the same care provided by the mother, with the exception of suckling. Here we measured plasmatic testosterone concentrations 10 days after mating, five and 20 days postpartum, and 10 days after males were isolated from their families in order to determine possible changes in this hormone, associated to the presence and age of pups. Males of Volcano Mouse exhibited paternal behavior when their testosterone levels were relatively high. Although levels of this hormone did not change with the presence or pups age, males that invested more time in huddling showed higher testosterone levels. It is possible that in the Volcano Mouse testosterone modulates paternal behavior indirectly, as in the California mouse.
Keywords: paternal behavior, testosterone, volcano mouse, neotomodon alstoni, wild rodent