Bile salts as semiochemicals in fish

Chemical Senses
By: , and 



Bile salts are potent olfactory stimuli in fishes; however the biological functions driving such sensitivity remain poorly understood. We provide an integrative review of bile salts as semiochemicals in fish. First, we present characteristics of bile salt structure, metabolism, and function that are particularly relevant to chemical communication. Bile salts display a systematic pattern of structural variation across taxa, are efficiently synthesized, and are stable in the environment. Bile salts are released into the water via the intestine, urinary tract, or gills, and are highly water soluble. Second, we consider the potential role of bile salts as semiochemicals in the contexts of detecting nearby fish, foraging, assessing risk, migrating, and spawning. Lastly, we suggest future studies on bile salts as semiochemicals further characterize release into the environment, behavioral responses by receivers, and directly test the biological contexts underlying olfactory sensitivity.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Bile salts as semiochemicals in fish
Series title Chemical Senses
DOI 10.1093/chemse/bju039
Volume 39
Issue 8
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Oxford Journals
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 647
Last page 654
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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