Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Testosterone induces paternal behavior in sexually inexperienced males of Neotomodon alstoni (Rodentia: Muridae)


paternal behavior
paternal tests
sexually inexperienced males
Neotomodon alstoni.
conducta paterna
pruebas de conducta paterna
machos sin experiencia sexual
Neotomodon alstoni.

How to Cite

Luis Diaz, J., Ramos Blancas, G., Martínez Torres, M., Carmona Castro, A., Cedillo Ildefonso, B., & Delgado Solís, J. (2017). Testosterone induces paternal behavior in sexually inexperienced males of Neotomodon alstoni (Rodentia: Muridae). Revista De Biología Tropical, 65(4), 1419–1427.


The inhibition of infanticide can be considered a prerequisite for the onset of paternal behavior. Thus, hormones such as testosterone (T) would be expected to mediate the inhibition of aggression toward pups and the onset of paternal care. However, the effect of T in onset of this behavior seems to depend of sexual experience. The aim of this study was to determine whether T induces paternal behavior in sexually inexperienced males of the Mexican volcano mouse (Neotomodon alstoni). For this, 33 non-paternal males were selected based on paternal behavior tests. These non-paternal mice were organized in three groups: 10 males were castrated, 10 subjected to sham procedure, and 13 underwent castration and T replacement. After of these treatments, the males were again evaluated by a second paternal behavior test, and blood samples were obtained to measure plasma T levels by radioimmunoassay. Castrated males with T replacement changed their behavior; 46.2 % of these males displayed paternal behavior despite 92.3 % of these males having previously displayed aggressive behavior in the selection test. An increase in T facilitates the onset of paternal behavior in sexually inexperienced males of Mexican volcano mouse, as occurs in sexual experience males. These results support the hypothesis that an increase in T levels would be involved in the neuroendocrine mechanisms that suppress infanticide and promote the onset of parental behavior in Mexican volcano mice males. Future studies in this mouse will investigate whether T regulates the onset of paternal behavior via conversion to estradiol or whether both T metabolites are involved in its onset.


Bonilla, J., Vázquez-Palacios, G., Arteaga-Silva, M., & Retana-Márquez, S. (2006). Hormonal responses to different sexually related conditions in male rats. Hormones and Behavior, 49, 376-382.

Bridges, S. R. (1984). A quantitative analysis of the roles of dosage, sequence, and duration of estradiol and progesterone exposure in the regulation of maternal behavior in the rat. Endocrinology, 114(3), 930-40.

Brown, R. E. (1985). Hormones and paternal behaviour in vertebrates. American Zoologist, 25, 895-910.

Brown, R. E., Murdoch, T., Murphy, P. R., & Moger, W. H. (1995). Hormonal responses of male gerbils to stimuli from their mate and pups. Hormones and Behavior, 29, 474-491.

Burnham, T. C., Chapman, J. F., Gray, P. B., McIntyre, M. H., Lipson, S. F., & Ellison, P. T. (2003). Men in committed, romantic relationships have lower testosterone. Hormones and behavior, 44, 119-122.

Clark, M. M., & Galef, B. G. (1999). A testosterone mediated trade-off between parental and sexual effort in male Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 113, 338-395.

Coquelin, A., & Bronson, F. H. (1979). Release of luteinizing hormone in male mice during exposure to females: habituation of the response. Science, 206, 1094-1101.

Dulac, C., O’Connell, A. L., & Wu, Z. (2014). Neural control of maternal and paternal behaviors. Science, 345(6198), 765-770.

Elwood, R. W. (1983). Paternal care in rodents. New York: John Wiley.

Frijakamel, E., Mock, W. W., & Frankel, I. A. (1975). Alterations in plasma concentrations, LH and prolactin associated with mating in the male rat. Hormones and Behavior, 6, 277-288.

Gleason, D. E., Fuxajager, J. M., Oyegbile, O. T., & Marler, A. C. (2009). Testosterone release and social context: When it occurs and why. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 30, 460-469.

Gromov, V. S., & Osadchuk, L. V. (2013). Parental care and testosterone in males of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus): Sensitization and androgenic stimulation of paternal behavior. The Biological Bulletin, 40(1), 114-118.

Gubernick, D. J., Schneider, A. K., & Jeannotte, A. L. (1994). Individual differences, in the mechanism underling the onset and maintenance of parental behaviour and the inhibition of infanticide in the monogamous biparental California mouse Peromyscus californicus. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 34, 225-231.

Hausfater, G., & Hrdy, S. B. (1984). Infanticide: comparative and evolutionary perspectives. New York: Aldine.

Hrdy, S. B. (1979). Infanticide among animals: a review, classification and examination of the implications for the reproductive strategies of females. Ethology and Sociobiology, 1, 13-40.

Hume, J. M., & Wynne-Edwards, K. E. (2005). Castration reduces male testosterone, estradiol, and territorial aggression, but no paternal behavior in parental dwarf hamster (Phodopus campbelli). Hormones and Behavior, 48, 303-310.

Jennions, M. D., & Macdonald, D. W. (1994). Cooperate breeding in mammals. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 9, 89-93.

Kennedy, H. F., & Elwood, R. W. (1988). Strain differences in the inhibited of infanticide in male mice (Mus musculus). Behavioral and Neural Biology, 50, 349-353.

Kleiman, D. G., & Malcolm, J. R. (1981). The evolution of male parental investment in mammals. In D. J. Gubernick, & H. P. Klopfer (Eds.), Parental care in mammals (pp. 347-387). New York: Plenum Press.

Lonstein, J. S., & De Vries, G. J. (1999). Sex differences in the parental behaviour of adult virgin prairie voles: Independence from gonadal hormones and vasopressin. Journal of Neurology, 11, 441-449.

Luis, J., Cadena, C., Zedillo, B., Reyes, J., Ramos, G., & Martínez, M. (2012). Testosterone replacement induced paternal behaviour in the Mexican Volcano mouse Neotomodon alstoni (Rodentia: Muridae). Ethology Ecology and Evolution, 24(3), 275-283.

Luis, J., Carmona, A., Delgado, J., Cervantes, F. A., & Cárdenas, R. (2000). Parental behavior of the volcano mouse, Neotomodon alstoni (Rodentia: Muridae), in captivity. Journal of Mammalogy, 81, 600-605.

Luis, J., Cervantes, F. A., Martínez-Torres, M., Cárdenas, R., Delgado, J., & Carmona, A. (2004). Male influence on maternal behavior and offspring of captive Volcano mice (Neotomodon alstoni) from México. Journal of Mammalogy, 85(2), 268-272.

Luis, J., Ramírez, L., Carmona, A., Ortíz, G., Delgado, J., & Cárdenas, R. (2009). Paternal behavior and testosterone plasma levels in the volcano mouse Neotomodon alstoni (Rodentia:Muridae). Revista de Biología Tropical, 57(1), 433-439.

Marumiak, J. A., & Bronson, F. A. (1976). Gonadotropin responses of male mice to female urine. Endocrinology, 99, 963-969.

Martínez, A., Ramos, G., Martínez-Torres, M., Nicolás, L., Carmona, A., Cárdenas, M., & Luis, J. (2015). Paternal behavior in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus): Estrogenic and androgenic regulation. Hormones and Behavior, 71, 91-95.

Olivera, J., Ramírez-Pulido, J., & Williams, S. 1986. Reproducción de Peromyscus (Neotomodon) alstoni (Mammalia: Muridae) en condiciones de laboratorio. Acta Zoológica Mexicana, 16, 1-27.

Parmigiani, S., & Vom Saal, F. S. (1994). Prenatal gonadal influences on mouse sociosexual behaviours. In S. Parmigiani, & F. S. Vom Saal (Eds.), Infanticide and parental care (pp. 43-72). London: Harwood Academic.

Perrigo, G., Bryant, W. C., & Vom Saal, F. S. (1990). Individual variation in the neural timing of infanticide and parental behavior in house mice. Physiology and Behavior, 50, 287-296.

Reburn, C. J., & Wynne-Edwards, K. E. (1999). Hormonal changes in males of naturally biparental and uniparental mammals. Hormones and Behavior, 35, 163-176.

Roney, J. R., Lukaszewski, A. W., & Simmons, Z. L. 2007. Rapid endocrine responses of young men to social interactions with young women. Hormones and Behavior, 52, 326-333.

Saltzman, W., & Ziegler, T. E. (2014). Functional significance of hormonal changes in mammalian fathers. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 26, 685-696.

Schum, E., & Wynne-Edwards, E. K. 2005. Estradiol and progesterone in paternal and non-paternal hamsters (Phodopus) becoming fathers: conflict with hypothesized roles. Hormones and Behavior, 47, 410-418.

Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación. 2001. Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-062-ZOO-1999. Especificaciones técnicas para la producción, cuidado y uso de los animales de laboratorio. Diario Oficial de la Federación, 75, 113-160.

Siegel, I. H., & Rosenblatt, S. J. 1975. Estrogen-induced maternal behavior in hysterectomized-ovariectomized virgin rats. Physiology and Behavior, 14, 465-471.

Sikes, R. S., & the Animal Care and Use Committee of the American Society of Mammalogists. (2016). Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild mammals in research and education. Journal of Mammalology, 97(3), 663-688.

Stolzenberg, S. D., & Rissman, F. E. (2011). Oestrogen-independent, experienced-induced maternal behaviour in female mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 23(4), 345-354.

Stolzenberg, S. D., Stevens, S. J., & Rissman, F. E. (2012). Experienced-facilitated improves in pup retrieval, evidence for a epigenetic effect. Hormones and Behavior, 62(2), 128-135.

Trainor, B. C., & Marler, C. A. (2001). Testosterone, paternal behavior and aggression in the monogamous California mouse (Peromyscus californicus). Hormones and Behavior, 40, 32-42.

Trainor, B. C., & Marler, C. A. (2002). Testosterone promotes paternal behaviour via conversion to oestrogen in a monogamous mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 269, 823-829.

Vom Saal, F. S. (1985). Time-contingent change in infanticide and parental behavior induced by ejaculation in male mice. Physiology and Behavior, 34, 7-15.

Vom Saal, F. S., & Howard, L. S. (1982). The regulation of infanticide and parental behavior: implications for reproductive success in male mice. Science, 215, 1270-1272.

Wang, Z., & De Vries, G. J. (1993). Testosterone effects on parental behavior and vasopressin immunoreactive projections in prairie voles (Microtus ochrograster). Brain Research, 631, 156-160.

Woodroffe, R., & Vincent, A. (1994). Mothers´s little helpers: patterns of male care in mammals. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 9, 294-297.

Ziegler, T. E., & Snowdon, C. T. (2000). Preparental hormone levels and parenting experience in male cotton-top tamarins, Saguinus Oedipus. Hormones and Behavior, 38, 159-167.

Ziegler, T. E., Wegner, F. H., Carlson, A. A., Lazaro-Perea, C., & Snowdon, C. T. (2000). Prolactin levels during the periparturitional period in the biparental cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus): interactions with gender androgen levels and parenting. Hormones and Behavior, 38, 111-122.



Download data is not yet available.