CIE Spotlight: Female androgen levels: what are the selective pressures in birds? A comment on Goymann and Wingfield

Kate B. & Kerry F.

Kate B. & Kerry F.

Title: Female androgen levels: what are the selective pressures in birds? A comment on Goymann and Wingfield.

Author Full Names: Buchanan, Katherine L.; Fanson, Kerry V.

Source: BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY, 25 (4):701-701, JUL-AUG 2014.

Brief summary of the paper: In the last 10 years, the assumption that female androgens are unimportant has been challenged, and a growing body of literature has sought to test the significance of female testosterone levels.

In contrast to earlier comparative avian studies, the recent analysis by Goymann and Wingfield (2014) finds that neither male:female testosterone ratios nor female testosterone levels are related to mating system, plumage dimorphism, coloniality, or latitude.

This then leads to the question: what selective pressures are acting on female androgen levels?

Although there is enough information to allow for enthusiastic speculation, we know significantly less about the basic biology underlying androgens in female birds than in male birds.

The evolution and function of female androgens is an exciting and relatively unexplored area of behavioral endocrinology, but current data are too limited to make robust assessments of the selection pressures on female androgen levels.

Full text available HERE.