Components of boldness, such as activity level and locomotion, influence an individual's ability to avoid predators and acquire resources, generating fitness consequences. The presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the aquatic environment may affect fitness by changing morphology or altering behaviors like courtship and exploration. Most research on EDC-generated behavioral effects has focused on estrogen mimics and reproductive endpoints. Far fewer studies have examined the effects of other types of EDCs or measured non-reproductive behaviors. EDCs with antiandrogenic properties are present in waterways yet we know little about their effects on exposed individuals although they may produce effects similar to those caused by estrogen mimics because they act on the same hormonal pathway. To examine the effects of antiandrogens on boldness, this study exposed male Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens, to a high or low dose of one of two antiandrogens, vinclozolin or flutamide, and observed behavior in three boldness assays, both before and after exposure. Overall, antiandrogen exposure increased boldness behavior, especially following exposure to the higher dose. Whether or not antiandrogen exposure influenced boldness, as well as the nature and intensity of the effect, was assay-dependent. This demonstrates the importance of studying EDC effects in a range of contexts and, at least within this species, suggests that antiandrogenic compounds may generate distinct physiological effects in different situations. How and why the behavioral effects differ from those caused by exposure to an estrogen mimic, as well as the potential consequences of increased activity levels, are discussed.Exposure to an antiandrogen, regardless of dose, produced elevated activity levels and altered shoaling and exploration in male Siamese fighting fish. These modifications may have fitness consequences.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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