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Abstract

The development of indirect mechanisms of intrasexual competition (e.g., visual identification of possible rivals) could be related to personality traits such as aggressiveness and self-esteem. However, the study of endocrine changes associated to indirect mechanisms of intrasexual competition is scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the changes in testosterone levels after a rival choice test in men and how intrasexual competitiveness, aggressiveness, and self-esteem modulate these changes. A group of 160 healthy men answered four personality questionnaires, participated in a rival choice test, and donated saliva samples to measure the changes in their testosterone levels. We found a significant decrease in testosterone levels of men with lower intrasexual competitiveness, but testosterone levels remained stables in competitive men. Non-significant results were found for aggressiveness and self-esteem. These decreases in testosterone levels could be interpreted as an adaptation aimed to reduce costs in male-male contests in Western modern societies.

In: Behaviour

Abstract

The elemental composition of organisms belongs to a suite of functional traits that change during development in response to environmental conditions. However, associations between adaptive variations in developmental speed and elemental body composition are not well understood. We compared body mass, elemental body composition, food uptake and fat metabolism of Drosophila melanogaster male fruit flies in relation to their larval development speed. Slowly developing flies had higher body carbon concentration than rapidly developing and intermediate flies. Rapidly developing flies had the highest body nitrogen concentration, while slowly developing flies had higher body nitrogen levels than flies with intermediate speed of development. The carbon-to-nitrogen ratio was therefore lower in rapidly developing flies than in slow and intermediate flies. We also had a group of flies grown individually and their body mass and elemental body composition were similar to those of rapidly developing individuals grown in groups. This suggests that rapid growth is not suppressed by stress. Feeding rates were lowest in the slowly developing flies. The amount of triacylglycerides was highest in the flies with intermediate developmental speed which optimizes development under many climatic conditions. Although low food intake slows down developmental speed and the accumulation of body fat reserves in slowly developing flies, their phenotype conceivably facilitates survival under higher stochasticity of their environments. Rapidly developing flies grew with less emphasis on storage build-up. Overall, this study shoes that a combination of bet-hedging, adaptive tracking and developmental plasticity enables fruit flies to respond adaptively to environmental uncertainty.

In: Animal Biology