Petrović, T. G., Vučić, T. Z., Nikolić, S. Z. et al. 2020. The effect of shelter on oxidative stress and aggressive behavior in crested newt larvae (Triturus spp.). Animals 10(4), 603.
Shelters are important for animal survival. Provision of adequate hiding places allow animals to express their natural sheltering behavior and it can have different positive effects on cortisol levels, physiological processes and mental performance. Although the absence of a refuge activates some stress response, its effect on oxidative stress has not been adequately examined. This study investigated whether the presence/absence of a shelter modifies the oxidative status (the antioxidant system and oxidative damage) and aggressive behavior of crested newt larvae (Triturus macedonicus and its hybrid with T. ivanbureschi). Our results show that individuals reared with shelters had lower values of the tested antioxidant parameters (catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione S-transferase and glutathione), indicating a lower production of reactive species than individuals reared without shelter. The same pattern was observed in both T. macedonicus and its hybrid. Contrary to the activation of some physiological pathways, shelter availability did not significantly affect the rate of intraspecific aggressive behavior. The physiological benefits of shelter use can be manifested as a lower requirement for investment in the energy necessary for the maintenance of the upregulated antioxidant defenses, activation of repair systems and synthesis of endogenous antioxidants. This study highlights the importance of shelter provision, which may be valuable in habitat restoration and animal conservation studies.