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Effects of group stability, male-male aggression, and male courtship behaviour on environmentally-induced ovarian recrudescence in the lizard Anolis carolinensis



Reproductively inactive, winter dormant female Anolis carolinensis were exposed to a stimulatory environmental regime while in socially stable or unstable male-female groups. In a second experiment, winter dormant females were exposed to varying amounts of male courtship and male-male aggression. Results indicate that (1) the presence of a stable dominance hierarchy among group males is necessary for male facilitation of environmentally-induced ovarian recrudescence (OR) (an unstable dominance hierarchy inhibits OR), (2) the behaviour patterns responsible for the facilitation and inhibition of environmentally-induced OR are courtship and male-male aggression, respectively, and (3) ovarian development is graded in accordance to the amount of male courtship to which the female is exposed. It is proposed that male courtship insures normal gonadotropin (GT) secretion while the absence of male courtship results in subnormal GT secretion and the presence of male-male aggression suppresses environmentally-induced GT secretions. The functional significance of the inhibition of environmentally-induced OR by male-male aggression and its possible relation to differential vernal emergence in temperate-zone reptiles is discussed.

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