Electric organ discharge frequency and plasma sex steroid levels during gonadal recrudescence in a natural population of the weakly electric fish Sternopygus macrurus

J Comp Physiol A. 1991 Oct;169(4):493-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00197661.


1. Sternopygus macrurus were collected in Venezuela during the period of gonadal recrudescence in early or late dry season. Electric organ discharge (EOD) frequencies were recorded, blood samples were taken for analysis of steroid titers, and gonads were taken for determination of reproductive condition. 2. Mean EOD frequencies were significantly lower in males than in females in all samples. EOD frequency was inversely correlated with body length in males in late, but not early, dry season, and these parameters were never correlated in females. 3. Plasma levels of testosterone (T) and 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT), but not estradiol-17 beta (E2), were inversely correlated with EOD frequency in males. No 11-KT was observed in plasma of females, and plasma levels of T and E2 in females were comparable to those of males. Neither T nor E2 were correlated with EOD frequency in females. 4. Testes collected in late dry season were more mature than those from early dry season; androgen levels and EOD frequency were correlated with testicular maturity. Ovaries collected in early dry season were immature, while those from late dry season were more mature. There was no relationship between EOD frequency and stage of ovarian development. 5. These results suggest that plasma androgens modulate EOD frequency in males during the reproductive season and that plasma E2 has little relationship to EOD frequency in either sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Fish / physiology*
  • Electric Organ / physiology*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • Gonads / anatomy & histology
  • Gonads / growth & development
  • Gonads / physiology*
  • Male
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Ovary / growth & development
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Testis / anatomy & histology
  • Testis / growth & development
  • Testis / physiology
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • 11-ketotestosterone