Seasonal patterns of melatonin alter aggressive phenotypes of female Siberian hamsters

Nikki Rendon, Christopher Petersen, Kathleen Munley, Andrea Amez, Daniel Boyes, Marcy Kingsbury & Gregory Demas
Many animal species exhibit year-round aggression, a behaviour that allows individuals to compete for limited resources in their environment (e.g., food and mates). Interestingly, this high degree of territoriality persists during the non-breeding season, despite low levels of circulating gonadal steroids (i.e., testosterone [T] and oestradiol [E2]). Our previous work suggests that the pineal hormone melatonin mediates a ‘seasonal switch’ from gonadal to adrenal regulation of aggression in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus); solitary, seasonally breeding...
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