Canada lynx are listed as a threatened species in the contiguous US. Understanding the reproductive characteristics (i.e., mating system, behavior, physiology) of a species is useful for ensuring effective in situ and ex situ management plans. The goal of this study was to describe patterns of androgen expression in both captive and wild male Canada lynx using fecal hormone metabolite analysis. Among captive lynx, juvenile and castrated males had lower concentrations of fecal androgens (fA) than intact males, thereby demonstrating that the assay detects biologically meaningful differences in testicular activity. We found that captive males in general had much higher fA levels than wild males. All males showed strong seasonal variation in fA concentrations, with significantly higher levels being expressed during the breeding season (February and March) than during the non-breeding season. Among captive males, variation in seasonal fA levels did not correlate with latitude. Finally, males housed with intact cage-mates (either male or female) had significantly higher fA levels than males housed alone or with a neutered cage-mate.
- Fecal metabolites