Effects of sociosexual environment on serum testosterone in captive male African rhinoceros

B. W. Christensen, M. H.T. Troedsson, L. J. Young, M. Oliva, L. M. Penfold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The relationships between testosterone concentrations in male African rhinoceros and the presence of conspecific males and females were investigated. Serum testosterone concentrations were measured using enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA) in 37 male black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and 21 male white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) housed at 37 institutions in the USA. Testosterone concentrations in both black (n = 37) and white (n = 21) rhinoceros males rose with increasing numbers of females present (P < 0.05). Average testosterone concentrations also rose with an increased number of conspecific males (n = 34) in black rhinoceros (P < 0.05). However, no specific pattern was found among male white rhinoceros housed with other males. We inferred that introduction of females to a male may play an important role in stimulating libido and spermatogenesis. The similar response of black rhinoceros and white rhinoceros to increased numbers of females suggested that, at least historically, herd structure for blacks may have been more similar to whites than previously realized, and should be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1111
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009


  • Captive breeding
  • Rhinoceros
  • Sociosexual
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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