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The role of pheromones in freshwater fishes

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The study of fish pheromones is particularly relevant because of the conserved nature of chemoreception in vertebrates. However, most fish pheromone systems remain unstudied. All the major known pheromones of freshwater fish and their associated behaviours were reviewed. Importantly, those studies that have demonstrated the connection between behaviour and pheromones in freshwater fishes have resulted in a wide range of applications in management. For example, pheromones released by the sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus have a practical function in pheromone traps, showing how chemical communication can be used in the management of invasive species. Future research on fish pheromones should include olfactory systems in a wider range of species testing the possibility that a few distinct models could be applied to the all fishes. Progress in research on fish pheromones should include a closer collaboration with other research fields such as evolutionary biology to allow a better understanding of fish pheromones systems divergence and mate selection where correlation between phenotypic dominance and pheromone production is still largely ignored. Finally, the example of pheromone interaction between an invasive species topmouth gudgeon Pseudorasbora parva and a native endangered species sunbleak Leucaspius delineatus is provided to illustrate the concept of pheromone pollution that assists its establishment in a novel ecosystem.
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Keywords: chemoreception; communication; induced behaviour; invasive species

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Bournemouth School of Conservation Science, Dorset House, Bournemouth University, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, U.K. 2: Cardiff School of Biosciences, Biomedical Building, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales CF10 3US, U.K.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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