A method to determine integrated steroid levels in wildlife claws

Devorah Matas, Tammy Keren-Rotem, Lee Koren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids act throughout life to regulate numerous physiological and behavioral processes. Their levels are therefore highly labile, reacting to varying conditions and stressors. Hence, measuring glucocorticoids (and other steroids) in wildlife is challenging, and devising methods that are unaffected by the stress of capture and handling should be explored. Here we use the tip of free-ranging chameleons' claws that were cut to allow individual identification, and report a steroids extraction and quantification method. Claw steroids present an integrated level representing the period of claw growth. We found that we could measure corticosterone in small amounts of chameleon claw matrix using commercial EIA kits. Using this method, we learned that in wild male chameleons, claw corticosterone levels were associated with body size. We suggest that claw-testing can potentially provide an ideal matrix for wildlife biomonitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-28
Number of pages3
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
StatePublished - 1 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc..


  • Chameleon
  • Corticosterone
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Nails
  • Non-invasive
  • Reptiles


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