Aggression; Behavior; Oreochromis niloticus; Sex reversal; Sex steroids; Sound; Temperature; Gonadal Steroid Hormones; Agonistic Behavior; Animals; Female; Male; Sex Differentiation/genetics; Cichlids/genetics; Cichlids; Sex Differentiation; Endocrinology; Endocrine and Autonomic Systems; Behavioral Neuroscience
[en] In some fish species, sex is determined by the combination of genetic and environmental factors. In most species concerned, extreme temperatures during the sensitive period of sex differentiation drives masculinization, independently of the female sex chromosomes. In Nile tilapia (XY male heterogamety), XX juveniles exposed to high temperatures (>32 °C) can masculinize and become phenotypical males (neomales). Whether these neomales exhibit a different behavior than XY males remains however unclear. Sex reversal being naturally relevant, we investigated the agonistic behavior of neomales during dyadic fights and the preference of gravid females for one of the two male types. We quantified the behavior, size of the nest, hormone circulating levels (testosterone, 11-ketotestosterone and cortisol) and sound production of the two male types in both contexts. Independently of the individual they face, neomales seem to display more aggressive behaviors than XY males but often fail to become dominant. Agonistic interactions were mainly silent, suggesting that sounds are unnecessary for the establishment of social hierarchy. Although males and neomales produce different kinds of sounds when facing a gravid female, the female does not exhibit a preference. Overall, no differences were observed for hormone circulating concentrations between the two male types. We suggest that the sex chromosomes and/or the sex reversal procedure may have differently shaped the brain of neomales, resulting in differences in the expression of behavior.
Funding text :
This work was supported by a grant (ARC 15/19-7) from the Concerted Research Actions, Wallonia-Brussels Federation. C.A.C. is a F.R.S.-FNRS Research Director. We sincerely acknowledge Christian Prignon (ULiège, Belgium) for the fish care and building of the recirculating system.This work was supported by a grant ( ARC 15/19-7 ) from the Concerted Research Actions, Wallonia-Brussels Federation . C.A.C. is a F.R.S.-FNRS Research Director. We sincerely acknowledge Christian Prignon (ULiège, Belgium) for the fish care and building of the recirculating system.