A Review of Research in Fish Pheromones

  • Yu-Wen Chung-Davidson
  • Mar Huertas
  • Weiming Li


This review provides selected examples of several types of chemical signals and cues important for the social behavior of fish. Alarm substances evoke antipredator behaviors, typified by increased shoaling, refuging, freezing, dashing, area avoidance, and reduced foraging. Migratory pheromones are employed by some fish species that migrate long distances to locate home streams or spawning grounds. Many fishes employ sex pheromones to attract members of the opposite sex or to elicit spawning behavior. Steroids, prostaglandins, bile acids and amino acids have all been shown to serve as sex pheromones in fishes. Pheromones can also be used to recognize kin and establish hierarchies. Nonspecific diet metabolites as well as specific pheromones are important in chemical mediation of social behavior in fish. The use of pheromones in fisheries started long before scientific proof of their existence. Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) pheromone is the first vertebrate pheromone that has been tested in the field as a pest control agent. Other potential applications of pheromone usage include conservation of endangered species or aquaculture. Similar approaches could also be useful for other aquatic organisms, including crustaceans.


High Performance Liquid Chromatography Great Lake Alarm Response Alarm Substance Pheromone Molecule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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