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Identification of putative migratory pheromones from Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata)

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Pacific lamprey, Lampetra tridentata, has declined precipitously throughout their range in the Columbia River basin of North America. Tribal Nations and Federal and State agencies are engaged in efforts to restore these fish. Understanding whether Pacific lamprey emit and detect migratory pheromones is particularly important for these restoration efforts. Using behavioural assays, we demonstrated that migratory adult Pacific lamprey are attracted to odors emanating from their larval conspecifics. We then identified putative pheromones released by larval Pacific lamprey. Chemical analysis of the conditioned water from larval lamprey using liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry (LC–MS) revealed that the Pacific lamprey can release petromyzonamine disulfate (PADS), petromyzosterol disulfate (PSDS), and petromyzonol sulfate (PZS). Electro-olfactogram studies further demonstrated that adult Pacific lamprey can smell those bile acid compounds. Our data strongly indicate that the Pacific lamprey employ a chemical communication system mediated by a mixture of bile acids, as evidenced by pheromonal functions of the bile acid compounds in guiding migratory adult sea lamprey to the spawning streams. Comprehensive understanding of the chemical communications involved in lamprey migratory behavior may lead to improved scientific approaches for restoration efforts.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 2: Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA. 3: Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, WA 98112, USA. 4: Fisheries Centre and Department of Zoology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Publication date: December 6, 2011

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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