Impacts of the season and reproductive status on fecal reproductive and adrenocortical steroid metabolites in zoo Cuban crocodiles (Crocodylus rhombifer)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Lauren Augustine, Kyle Miller, Alan Peters, Ashley D Franklin, Cathleen M Steinbeiser, Janine L Brown, Natalia A Prado
Zoo Biology
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Conservation strategies for crocodilians often include captive breeding to create stable assurance populations. Evaluating adrenal and gonadal hormone patterns can provide animal managers with data to more effectively monitor animal welfare and reproductive status. This study evaluated the effects of season (breeding, nesting, or off), sex (male and female), and reproductive status of females (egg‐laying/housed with a male or non‐laying/housed solo) on concentrations of fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (FGM), fecal androgen metabolite (FAM), and fecal progestogen metabolite (FPM) in seven Cuban crocodiles, Crocodylus rhombifer, at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. Overall, seasonal changes in FGM and FPM concentrations were only observed in egg‐laying females; FGM and FPM concentrations were both higher during the nesting season compared to the breeding and off seasons. Seasonal changes in FAM concentrations were only observed in males; males had higher FAM concentrations during the breeding and nesting seasons compared to the off season. Future studies investigating the use of fecal hormone metabolites in crocodilians are necessary to understand differences between individuals and species, to further elucidate the interactions between hormones and environmental factors, such as social housing, and to develop long‐term datasets for the management of this species.


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