|Behavioral and olfactory responses of female Salaria pavo (Pisces: Blenniidae) to a putative multi-component male pheromone.
|Serrano, RM, Barata, EN, Birkett, MA, Hubbard, PC, Guerreiro, PS, Canario, AVM
|Year of Publication
|J Chem Ecol
|Animals, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Female, Fishes, Male, Sex Attractants, Sexual Behavior, Animal, Smell
The peacock blenny, Salaria pavo (Risso 1810), typically breeds in rocky shores of the Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic coast. Males defend a territory around a hole or cavity wherein females deposit eggs that the male guards until hatching. A pair of exocrine glands on the anal fin (anal glands) of males produces a putative pheromone involved in attraction of reproductively competent females to the nest. We used behavioral assays to assess species-specific attraction of reproductively competent females to putative male pheromones, including the anal gland pheromone. Additionally, chromatographic fractions of anal glands and male-conditioned water were tested for olfactory potency in females by electro-olfactogram analysis (EOG). In a flow-through tank or fluviarium, reproductive females were attracted to male-conditioned water and to the anal gland macerate from conspecifics but not to those of a closely related heterospecific. In addition, attraction of reproductive females to conspecific anal gland macerate occurred only during their initial upstream movement in the fluviarium; this was an ephemeral response when compared with the response to male-conditioned water that attracted females throughout the entire period of observation (5 min). Reproductive females also were attracted during the entire period of observation to water-conditioned by conspecific males whose anal glands had been removed. However, the attraction was more variable than that to water conditioned by intact males. Moreover, females were not attracted to male (without anal glands) odor during their initial upstream movement in the fluviarium. Finally, non-reproductive females were not attracted to the conspecific anal gland macerate. The EOG responses of females to molecular weight fractions and solid-phase extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography fractions of anal gland macerates and male-conditioned water (with and without anal glands) suggest that the anal glands release hydrophilic odorants that consist mainly of molecules smaller than 500 Da. Furthermore, males released potent odorants that do not originate from the anal glands. We hypothesize that females respond to a multi-component male pheromone to find mates. The putative anal gland pheromone is possibly comprised of hydrophilic odorants, whereas the other component(s), presumably of gonadal origin, may be less water-soluble.
|J. Chem. Ecol.