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The relationship between reproductive state and "sexually" dimorphic brain areas in sexually reproducing and parthenogenetic whiptail lizards



The relationship between reproductive state and "sexually" dimorphic brain areas in sexually reproducing and parthenogenetic whiptail lizards



Journal of Comparative Neurology 309(4): 507-514



The anterior hypothalamus-preoptic area and ventromedial hypothalamus are sexually dimorphic in the reproductively active whiptail lizard Cnemidophorus inornatus. The anterior hypothalamus-preoptic area, which is involved in the control of male-typical copulatory behaviors, is larger in males, whereas the ventromedial hypothalamus, which is involved in the control of female-typical receptivity, is larger in females. In the parthenogenetic whiptail lizard C. uniparens, which is a direct descendant of C. inornatus and exhibits both male-like and female-like pseudosexual behaviors, both brain areas are comparable in size to those of female C. inornatus. This study was conducted to determine whether these brain areas change in size in either species or sex during a time of year when these animals are reproductively inactive, or after removal of the gonads. In male C. inornatus both brain areas changed during reproductive inactivity (either seasonally or surgically induced) and became equivalent to the size characteristic of reproductively active female C. inornatus. When corrected for brain size, the anterior hypothalamus-preoptic area was significantly smaller in intact hibernating and castrated males than in intact males from the summer breeding season. Conversely, the ventromedial hypothalamus was significantly larger in intact hibernating and castrated males than in intact males from the summer breeding season. The two brain areas were not significantly different among the groups of female C. inornatus or parthenogenetic C. uniparens. These results suggest that 1) the brain of whiptail lizards may differentiate seasonally and 2) the female state may be a neutral one to which the male brain reverts during reproductive inactivity.

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Accession: 007928771

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 1918445

DOI: 10.1002/cne.903090407


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