Prenatal exposure to low doses of atrazine affects mating behaviors in male guppies.

TitlePrenatal exposure to low doses of atrazine affects mating behaviors in male guppies.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
JournalHormones and behavior

Performing appropriate mating behaviors is crucial to male reproductive success, especially in species where mating is predominantly via female mate choice. Mating behaviors are hormonally regulated and may be sexually selected traits: courtship displays are selected via mate choice, while forced copulations and aggressive behaviors are selected for via intrasexual competition. Endocrine disrupting compounds interfere with proper hormonal functioning in exposed animals. Exposures during developmentally crucial life stages can have irreversible effects lasting through adulthood. I tested the effects of prenatal exposure to environmentally relevant doses of a commonly used herbicide, atrazine (1 and 13.5μg/L) on mating behaviors in male guppies. Guppies were used as a model organism to test the effects of atrazine exposure on wildlife reproductive health. Adult female guppies were mated and exposed to the treatments throughout the gestation period, and offspring born to them were raised without further treatment. At adulthood, the males were tested for the effects of prenatal exposure on their mating behaviors such as courtship displays, gonopodium swings, forced copulatory attempts, and competitive and aggressive behaviors towards rivals who were not exposed to atrazine. I also tested female preference for treated males compared to control males. Atrazine-exposed males were less likely to perform the mating behaviors, and performed them less frequently, than control males. Atrazine exposure also made males less aggressive towards rivals. Females preferred untreated males over atrazine-treated males. In all cases, a non-monotonic pattern was seen, highlighting the significance of low-dose exposures.

Short TitleHorm Behav
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