Sea lampreys seem to have their own perfume that attracts males. Very much how you and your girls get ready on a Friday night by spraying that Very Sexy perfume by Victoria’s Secret. This adaptation was not found in the native silver lampreys, which gives researchers another tool to control this invasive species.
So basically when the males release their pheromones they are calling for all the “Single Ladies” to come hit the dance floor!
It is definitely a lot easier to approach a guy or girl by commenting on how delicious they smell rather than just asking for the number right? Well, these sea lampreys have caught on to this seductive trick and used it to their advantage to make love and multiply.
(Credit: Courtesy of MSU)
Researchers at Michigan State University discovered that the male sea lampreys have evolved to release pheromones, which attract females. The interesting part is how they innately produce this lovey cologne.
The pheromones were found to be released as bile salts from the liver in addition to their original function, processing fats. However, the invasive sea lampreys, but not the native silver lampreys only use this as a new seductive tactic. Therefore, this new function is something that the newer species has evolved with time.
To prove that a sexual attraction exists between the sea lampreys due to bile salts, the researchers observed both silver lampreys and sea lampreys reactions to bile salts in the lake. They discovered that both species recognize the cologne, but only the sea lampreys become edgy and vulnerable to the males.
Okay great. We know that sea lampreys are attracted to bile salts, but why do we care again?
Sea lampreys are native to lakes in New York and Vermont. Despite their native location, they have ended up in the Great Lakes where they have broken a lot of house rules.
The sea lamprey preys on fish by using its suction mouth to attach to the poor fish’s skin. Then it tears away the skin, which causes the fish to bleed excessively. The fish’s blood does not clot due to secretions from the sea lamprey’s mouth so it eventually dies.
Therefore, the researchers at Michigan State University are hoping to use this new discovery regarding pheromones to possibly control this invasive species since the native silver lamprey seem to not like cologne too much.
This is a very interesting approach to controlling this invasive species because it is a way to remove them without doing any harm. Furthermore, it seems pretty accurate if you wanted to make sure that you were actually catching the sea lampreys versus the silver lampreys.
So I guess the moral of this story is that sometimes your precious perfume may only attract the same type of guys. So girls switch it up!
Reference: Michigan State University (2013, October 7). Bile salts: Sea lampreys’ newest scent of seduction.