Serum 11-ketotestosterone and testosterone concentrations associated with reproduction in male bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus: Centrarchidae)

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1989 Sep;75(3):446-53. doi: 10.1016/0016-6480(89)90180-9.


Male bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) display a complex reproductive behavior involving two alternative life history pathways: delay of sexual maturation to become "parentals" or precocious maturation as "cuckolders." The purpose of our study was to investigate the association of two androgens, 11-ketotestosterone (11KT) and testosterone (T), with reproduction in these two types of males. Radioimmunoassay techniques were used to measure daily levels of the two androgens in the blood serum of parental male bluegill captured during the prespawning, spawning, and nesting periods throughout the reproductive season. Dramatic changes in the levels of 11KT and T were observed among parental males during these periods. Peaks occurred at the onset of spawning activity during each breeding bout. Compared to spawning parental males, spawning cuckolder males had significantly lower serum levels of 11KT. In contrast, the serum levels of T among parental and cuckolder males were not significantly different. These findings suggest that the elevated levels of 11KT are associated with the behaviors displayed by spawning parental males. The levels of T, however, seem to be associated with the occurrence of a phenomenon common to both parental and cuckolder males, such as development of gonads and/or spermiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Male
  • Perciformes / physiology*
  • Reproduction*
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Testosterone
  • 11-ketotestosterone