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Endocrine Correlates of Musth in Free-Ranging Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) Determined by Non-Invasive Faecal Steroid Hormone Metabolite Measurements

Ghosal, Sukumar and Ganswindt, Andre and Seshagiri, Polani B and Sukumar, Raman (2013) Endocrine Correlates of Musth in Free-Ranging Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) Determined by Non-Invasive Faecal Steroid Hormone Metabolite Measurements. In: PLOS ONE, 8 (12).

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084787

Abstract

The occurrence of musth, a period of elevated levels of androgens and heightened sexual activity, has been well documented for the male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). However, the relationship between androgen-dependent musth and adrenocortical function in this species is unclear. The current study is the first assessment of testicular and adrenocortical function in free-ranging male Asian elephants by measuring levels of testosterone (androgen) and cortisol (glucocorticoid - a physiological indicator of stress) metabolites in faeces. During musth, males expectedly showed significant elevation in faecal testosterone metabolite levels. Interestingly, glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations remained unchanged between musth and non-musth periods. This observation is contrary to that observed with wild and captive African elephant bulls and captive Asian bull elephants. Our results show that musth may not necessarily represent a stressful condition in free-ranging male Asian elephants.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: copyright for this article belongs to the authors.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Division of Biological Sciences > Molecular Reproduction, Development & Genetics
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2014 06:06
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2014 06:08
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/48264

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