Urinary corticosterone metabolite responses to capture and captivity in the cane toad (Rhinella marina)
MetadataShow full item record
Urinary corticosterone metabolite responses to capture have recently been shown for the first time in amphibians, and in the present study urinary corticosterone metabolite responses to capture and to confinement in captivity were measured in adult cane toads (Rhinella marina) in Queensland, Australia. An adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge was used to provide a biological validation for urinary corticosterone metabolite concentrations measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Urinary corticosterone metabolite increased 1-2 days after ACTH but not saline injection and then returned to initial values, indicating that the RIA could detect changes in corticosterone secretion in toads. Urinary corticosterone metabolite responses to short-term capture and restraint in plastic bags were first apparent 2 h after capture of wild toads. Toads held communally in captivity for 5 days had elevated urinary corticosterone metabolite concentrations. Mean corticosterone concentrations declined significantly after a further 7 days in individual housing chambers. There was no sex difference in urinary corticosterone metabolite responses of toads to ACTH challenge, short-term capture or captivity. The relative amount of variation in the mean corticosterone responses was quantified by calculating coefficients of variation (CV) for each mean corticosterone response. Mean corticosterone at 0 min was more variable for captive toads than wild toads. Furthermore, initial corticosterone concentrations (0 min) were more variable than concentrations during the ACTH challenge, short-term capture and captivity. There was little change in the amount of variation of mean corticosterone levels between male and female toads with increasing time in captivity (12-29 days). This study has shown individual corticosterone responses of amphibians for the first-time, and has provided a novel method for quantifying the relative amount of variation in amphibian corticosterone responses.
General and Comparative Endocrinology