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Endocrine control of Anguilla anguilla glass eel dispersal: effect of thyroid hormones on locomotor activity and rheotactic behavior

Abstract : Dispersal, one of the most important processes in population ecology, is an issue linking physiological and behavioral features. However, the endocrine control of animal dispersal remains poorly understood. Here, we tested whether and how thyroid hormones may influence dispersal in glass eels of Anguilla anguilla, by testing their influence on locomotor activity and rheotactic behavior. Glass eels were caught during their estuarine migration and treated by immersion in either a l-thyroxine (T4) or a thiourea (TU) solution. As measured by radioimmunoassay, T4 and TU treatments induced, respectively, increased and decreased whole-body thyroid hormone levels relative to untreated controls. We tested a total of 960 glass eels distributed into control, and T4 and TU treatment groups, on their swimming behavior in experimental flume tanks equipped with upstream and downstream traps that allowed us to concurrently measure both the locomotor activity and the rheotactic behavior. Compared to controls, locomotor activity significantly increased among the hyperthyroid, T4-treated eels, but significantly decreased among the hypothyroid, TU-treated eels. The results on rheotactic behavior suggested a more complex regulatory mechanism, since TU but not T4 treatment significantly affected rheotactic behavior. The influence of thyroid hormones on locomotor activity suggests a central role for these hormones in the regulation of mechanisms leading to the colonization of continental habitats by glass eels. Thyroid hormones are also implicated in the control of locomotor activity in mammals and migratory behavior in birds, suggesting that these hormones represent conserved, proximate mediators of dispersal in vertebrates.
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Contributor : Eric Edeline Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 5:17:48 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:38:10 PM


  • HAL Id : bioemco-00353149, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 250058
  • PUBMED : 15919385


Eric Edeline, Agnes Bardonnet, Valérie Bolliet, Sylvie Dufour, Pierre Elie. Endocrine control of Anguilla anguilla glass eel dispersal: effect of thyroid hormones on locomotor activity and rheotactic behavior. Hormones and Behavior, Elsevier, 2005, 48 (1), pp.53-63. ⟨bioemco-00353149⟩



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