Navigation Links
When nature calls
Date:2/10/2011

COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 9, 2011 When you've got to go, you've got to go upstream, that is, if you are a male swordtail fish seeking a mate, according to research from Texas A&M University.

A recent study led by Texas A&M biologists Dr. Gil Rosenthal and Dr. Heidi Fisher in collaboration with scientists at Centro de Investigaciones Cientificas de las Huastecas in Hidalgo, Mexico, and Boston University has determined that the fish use chemical cues in their urine to elicit sexual responses from their downstream female counterparts.

In a study funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Livebearer Association, Rosenthal and his team found that male swordtail fish strategically release pheromone-packed urine in the presence of females as a display of courtship, indicating that they have evolved a temporal and spatial control of their pheromone release. The findings, which are featured in the current issue of the journal "Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE," contradict previous assumptions that male pheromones in fish are passively released, given that most fish lack specialized scent glands or scent-marking behavior.

"We showed that male swordtail fish use chemicals in the urine as mating signals," Rosenthal says. "There's been relatively little work on how pheromones shape the lives of aquatic creatures."

The team studied wild-caught swordtail adults from the Rio Atempa in Huitznopala, Mexico, to determine whether females were attracted by passively produced cues or to pheromones as a form of communication. Using fluorescein dye injections to visualize urine release inside an aquarium, the researchers were able to determine that male swordtails relieved themselves more frequently in the presence and proximity of females than when females were absent altogether. In the wild, males court females in much the same way, but by swimming further upstream to ensure their scent is detected in the current by the females downstream.

"Our findings show that aquatic species and vertebrates, in particular, can have fine control over their release of chemical cues in the same manner as mammals that mark their territories or advertise their reproductive state, for example," says Fisher, a former postdoctoral researcher in Rosenthal's laboratory who is now with the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

Rosenthal notes that swordtail fish are considered an important model system in animal communication and are widely used in female mate-choice research. While numerous studies have addressed the role of cues in swordtails from olfactory to visual he says none previously have addressed exactly how and when chemical cues are released.

Rosenthal adds that studying the chemical signals of swordtails is vital not only to understanding how they and similar species communicate, but also because the information could be indicative of several environmental factors that could prove useful in the future. For example, he says, any amount of pollution might disrupt the communication within a species, thereby interfering with the courting and mating process and ultimately affecting the population.

To scientists like Rosenthal, these underwater chemical cues can serve as the proverbial "canary in the coal mine."

"Because these chemicals are rich in information and because they're transmitted through the water at very low concentrations, any change in the environment has the potential to shut down communication," he explains. "The silver lining is that we might be able to use communication behavior as a bioassay that local communities can use to detect pollutants in the water."


'/>"/>

Contact: Chris Jarvis
cjarvis@science.tamu.edu
979-845-7246
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Sirtris review of sirtuin therapeutics for diseases of aging in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery
2. Extreme nature helps scientists design nano materials
3. Nature study demonstrates that bacterial clotting depends on clustering
4. Nature Medicine study shows Peregrines bavituximab can cure lethal virus infections
5. Unifying the animate and the inanimate designs of nature
6. CIC Teams With Industry Leader iPipeline to Provide Electronic Signature Platform to the Nations Top Insurance Carriers
7. Researchers find natures shut-off switch for cellulose production
8. Researchers push nature beyond its limits to create higher-density biofuels
9. Scientists make strides toward defining genetic signature of Alzheimers disease
10. New genetic markers for ulcerative colitis identified, researchers report in Nature Genetics
11. CIC to Host Webinar Featuring Independent Research Firm: Enabling Straight Through Processing - Why the Insurance Industry Needs Electronic Signature Technology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Apr. 11, 2017 Research and Markets has ... report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of ... Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data captured ... engineering platform, detected a statistically significant association ... prior to treatment and objective response of ... potential to predict whether cancer patients will ... treatment, as well as to improve both pre-infusion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive ... a technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt ... to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the ... RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. ... need to accelerate development of approaches to analyze the ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar Biologics in ... 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion people by ... feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable resources are ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into ... a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: