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Consequences of Nestbuilding Behaviour for Osmoregulation in Male Three-Spined Sticklebacks

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image of Behaviour

Nestbuilding behaviour, which takes place in sexually mature males as a consequence of an enhanced level testosterone in the blood, considerably influences hydromineral balance. As shown by in vivo and in vitro experiments testosterone is directly involved in the glandular transformation of the nephronic tubule cells into gland cells, that secrete mucus for nestbuilding. Light and electron microscopical observations as well as physiological data provide strong evidence that, in sexually mature males both ion reabsorptive capacity of most of the nephronic tubule cells and glomerular filtration rate c. q. urine production has decreased considerably. As a consequence of this the water balance of these fish, living in freshwater, would be greatly disturbed. However in these males the intestine and apparently also the gall-bladder, compensate for the loss in renal function in maintaining hydromineral balance. Again, this is influenced by testosterone.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Animal Physiology, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands


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