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 Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Bile salts as semiochemicals in fish|
|Series title||Chemical Senses|
|Contributing office(s)||Great Lakes Science Center|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|