Olfactory sensitivity of Pacific Lampreys to lamprey bile acids

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By: , and 



Pacific lampreys Lampetra tridentata are in decline throughout much of their historical range in the Columbia River basin. In support of restoration efforts, we tested whether larval and adult lamprey bile acids serve as migratory and spawning pheromones in adult Pacific lampreys, as they do in sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus. The olfactory sensitivity of adult Pacific lampreys to lamprey bile acids was measured by electro-olfactogram recording from the time of their capture in the spring until their spawning in June of the following year. As controls, we tested L-arginine and a non-lamprey bile acid, taurolithocholic acid 3-sulfate (TLS). Migrating adult Pacific lampreys were highly sensitive to petromyzonol sulfate (a component of the sea lamprey migratory pheromone) and 3-keto petromyzonol sulfate (a component of the sea lamprey sex pheromone) when first captured. This sensitivity persisted throughout their long migratory and overwinter holding period before declining to nearly unmeasurable levels by the time of spawning. The absolute magnitudes of adult Pacific lamprey responses to lamprey bile acids were smaller than those of the sea lamprey, and unlike the sea lamprey, the Pacific lamprey did not appear to detect TLS. No sexual dimorphism was noted in olfactory sensitivity. Thus, Pacific lampreys are broadly similar to sea lampreys in showing sensitivity to the major lamprey bile acids but apparently differ in having a longer period of sensitivity to those acids. The potential utility of bile acid-like pheromones in the restoration of Pacific lampreys warrants their further investigation in this species.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Olfactory sensitivity of Pacific Lampreys to lamprey bile acids
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1577/T07-233.1
Volume 138
Issue 1
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 9 p.
First page 144
Last page 152
Country United States
State Oregon, Washington
Other Geospatial Bonneville Dam, Willamette Falls
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