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Abstract

The determination of hormone titers in small plasma volumes by radioimmunoassay makes it possible to demonstrate the mutual relationship between testosterone titers and sexual behaviour. Testosterone titers were measured after courtship tests in male Zebra Finches to determine whether these levels are influenced by sexual behaviour. The results show that immediately after a courtship test there is a significant difference in hormone levels between sexually experienced and inexperienced birds. Sexual experience can also be shown to influence baseline testosterone titers in male Zebra Finches: experienced ♂♂ have a high baseline level while inexperienced ♂♂ have a low baseline level. In two other behaviour patterns, undirected song and courtship song, it could be demonstrated, that the amount of these behaviours shown is linearly correlated with the amount of testosterone in the blood plasma. Both song types have different hormonal threshold values. The comparison of testosterone titers between different treatment groups can only be made if the groups are maintained under identical conditions, since housing conditions appear to have a very marked influence on testosterone titers. The mechanism of action of testosterone in sexual behaviour is discussed.