Bile acids as potential pheromones in pintado catfish, Pseudoplatystoma corruscans

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Bile acids as potential pheromones in pintado catfish, Pseudoplatystoma corruscans

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Giaquinto, PC, Barreto, RE, Volpato, GL, Fernandes-de-Castilho, M, & Gonçalves-de-Freitas, E. 2015. Bile acids as potential pheromones in pintado catfish Pseudoplatystoma corruscans (Spix & Agassiz, 1829): eletrophysiological and behavioral studies. Neotrop. Ichthyol., 13(1), 237-244. dx.doi.org/10.1590/1982-0224-20140013
ABSTRACT
Bile acids are potent olfactory and gustatory stimulants for fish. Electro-olfactogram recording was used to test whether
the olfactory epithelium of pintado catfish Pseudoplatystoma corruscans is specifically sensitive to bile acids, some of
which have been hypothesized to function as pheromones. Five out of 30 bile acids that had been pre-screened for olfactory
activity in fish were selected. Cross-adaptation experiments demonstrated that sensitivity to bile acids is attributable to
at least 3 independent classes of olfactory receptor sites. The taurocholic acid (TCA) and taurochenodeoxycholic acid
(TCD) were the most potent compounds. By using avoidance/preference tests, we found that P. corruscans prefers water
containing TCA. Bile acids are discriminated by olfactory epithelium of pintado, supporting that these compounds could
function as pheromones.

RESUMO
Os ácidos biliares são potentes estimulantes olfatórios e gustatórios em peixes. Registros em eletro-olfactograma
foram usados para testar se o epitélio olfatório de Pseudoplatystoma corruscans, pintado, é sensível aos ácidos biliares,
alguns dos quais têm sido propostos como feromônios. Foram selecionados cinco de uma lista de trinta ácidos biliares
previamente testados em atividade olfatória em peixes. Testes de adaptação cruzada demonstraram que a sensibilidade
aos ácidos biliares se dá por 3 classes independentes de sites de receptores olfatórios. O ácido taurocólico (TCA) e o
ácido tauroquenodesoxicólico (TCD) foram os compostos mais potentes. Em testes de evasão/preferência, P. corruscans
prefere água contendo o ácido TCA. Os ácidos biliares são discriminadas por epitélio olfatório de pintado, evidenciando
que estes compostos podem funcionar como feromônios.
How do the authors interpret this?
Pintado response to TCA may thus be of biological importance. Faeces and urine represent two sources for this bioactive byproducts in water (Zhang et al., 2001). Although the ecological significance of bile acids in faeces urine and water remains to be established, Foster (1985) showed that females are attracted to reefs treated with faeces of juvenile male lake char and successful reproduction was observed at these sites. This suggests that TCA emanating from faeces of pintado may play a role in the reproductive behavior of spawning adults. Moreover, faeces chemicals attract fish predators and then some fish localize their defecation away from their foraging areas (Brown et al., 1995). Giaquinto & Volpato (2005) showed that pintado discriminates large and size-matched conspecifics by chemical cues. As a larger pintado is a potential predator for smaller conspecifics, this chemical recognition might be an anti-predator mechanism.
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