Brain steroids make good dads

May 19, 2014

Testosterone in males is generally associated with aggression and definitely not with good parenting. Insights from a highly social fish can help understand how other androgenic steroids, like testosterone, can shape a male's parenting skills, according to a recent Georgia State University research study.

Once bluebanded gobies become fathers, they stay close to the developing eggs, vigorously fan and rub them until they hatch, and also protect them from mothers who would eat them.

By injecting a series of chemicals into the brains of these fathers, the research team temporarily altered their brain androgens and also their level of parental care.

As a result, the researchers found that brain androgens actually promote good parenting.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Explore further: Biological fathers not necessarily the best, social dads parent well too

More information: Pradhan DS, Solomon-Lane TK, Willis MC, Grober MS. 2014 A mechanism for rapid neurosteroidal regulation of parenting behaviour. Proc. R. Soc. B 281: 20140239.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A common mechanism for human and bird sound production

November 27, 2015

When birds and humans sing it sounds completely different, but now new research reported in the journal Nature Communications shows that the very same physical mechanisms are at play when a bird sings and a human speaks.

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.