Effects of copper on olfactory-mediated endocrine responses and reproductive behaviour in mature male brown trout Salmo trutta parr to conspecific females
In the present study, the effects of copper (CuSO4) on the ability of mature male brown trout Salmo trutta parr to detect and react both physiologically and behaviourally to female pheromones were studied. The study was composed of two parts. In the first experiment, priming effects of the female pheromone prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) were evaluated by determining the amount of milt produced and the blood plasma levels of 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) and 17α,20-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17,20-P) after the PGF2α exposure. In the second experiment, male parr were placed in a large stream tank together with a group of adult males and ovulated females and their individual behaviours were recorded. In the priming experiment, the amount of expressible milt was significantly lower, less than half, in groups exposed during 4 days to 10 or 100 µg l−1 copper compared with control parr only exposed to water. No significant differences were observed in plasma levels of 11-KT and 17, 20-P. During the behavioural experiment, exposed parr spent less time with the female and had a lower number of courting events. Blood plasma levels of 11-KT were, however, significantly higher in the group exposed to 100 µg l−1 copper compared with the control group. Furthermore, the exposed group spent significantly less time swimming upstream than did the control group. The present study demonstrates that exposure to copper affects reproductive behaviours and endocrinology of S. trutta male parr.