This study used large laboratory mazes and natural stream waters to test the role of olfactory cues, including a pheromone released by larvae, in spawning stream localization by migratory sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). We found that migratory lamprey strongly prefer stream water over lake water and that this response is dependent upon a functional olfactory system. Responses persisted among migratory lamprey even after stream water was diluted a thousand times but were not seen among non-migratory lamprey. Experiments using waters from five streams demonstrated that a larval pheromone is a key determinant of stream attractiveness: water from streams with larval populations were consistently more attractive than those without, and adding larval odor to the latter reversed this relationship. Larval odor was attractive at low, realistic concentrations, especially when presented together with natural stream water, suggesting that streams contain other odors that synergize the actions of the pheromone. Some, but not all, of the activity of the larval pheromone could be explained by two bile acids released by larvae (petromyzonol sulfate and allocholic acid). Together, these results strongly suggest that migratory lamprey locate streams using a larval pheromone. This cue could be useful in lamprey control.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2001|