The effects of chronic corticosterone (CORT) increases on the maternal behavior of the Prairie Skink, Plestiodon septentrionalis were studied in the laboratory during the summer of 2012. It was hypothesized that chronic increases in plasma CORT would result in decreased maternal effort and higher egg mortality, with similar results in analogous studies in birds. Plasma CORT was elevated using a non-invasive, exogenous treatment and behaviors were observed using video recordings. Corticosterone treatments significantly decreased the amount of time spent tightly coiled around eggs by experimental females, and significantly decreased the amount of time experimental females spent in contact with their eggs in comparison to control females. These results indicate decreases in maternal effort in response to a CORT increase similar to those found in avian studies, as well as studies on other vertebrates.
|Advisor:||Fawcett, James D.|
|Commitee:||French, Jeffrey A., Rauter, Claudia M.|
|School:||University of Nebraska at Omaha|
|School Location:||United States -- Nebraska|
|Source:||MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Brooding, Corticosterone, Maternal care, Plestiodon|
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