Effects of deslorelin acetate on plasma testosterone concentrations in captive yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta sp.).
In Europe, the yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta sp.) is a non-native species in competition with native freshwater turtles. Research on contraception could be useful to control the captive population. Identifying a method of contraception in chelonians would potentially help to control aggression in other chelonian species. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of a single 4.7-mg deslorelin acetate implant on plasma testosterone concentrations in yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta sp.). Eleven adult male yellow-bellied sliders were used for the study. Males from the treatment group (n=6) received a 4.7-mg deslorelin acetate implant, whereas males from the control group (n=5) did not receive any treatment. All individuals were housed under the same environmental conditions. Testosterone plasma concentrations of the control group and the treatment group were measured at six time points (T0-T6) between April and September. No difference between the control group and the deslorelin treatment group was observed at T0, T2, T3, T4, T5 or T6. However, mean plasma testosterone concentration was significantly higher in the treatment group than in the control group at T1. This suggests that treatment with a 4.7-mg deslorelin acetate implant has a transient stimulatory effect on the anterior pituitary in yellow-bellied sliders without a negative feedback on testosterone production. Further studies with a higher dosage of deslorelin acetate are needed to draw conclusions on its contraceptive effect.