Journal of Chemical Ecology
The sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, is emerging as a model organism for understanding how pheromones can be used for manipulating vertebrate behavior in an integrated pest management program. In a previous study, a synthetic sex pheromone component 7a,12a, 24-trihydroxy-5a-cholan-3-one 24-sulfate (3kPZS) was applied to sea lamprey traps in eight streams at a final in-stream concentration of 10-12 M. Application of 3kPZS increased sea lamprey catch, but where and when 3kPZS had the greatest impact was not determined. Here, by applying 3kPZS to additional streams, we determined that overall increases in yearly exploitation rate (proportion of sea lampreys that were marked, released, and subsequently recaptured) were highest (20–40 %) in wide streams (~40 m) with low adult sea lamprey abundance (<1000). Wide streams with low adult abundance may be representative of low-attraction systems for adult sea lamprey and, in the absence of other attractants (larval odor, sex pheromone), sea lamprey may have been more responsive to a partial sex pheromone blend emitted from traps. Furthermore, we found that the largest and most consistent responses to 3kPZS were during nights early in the trapping season, when water temperatures were increasing. This may have occurred because, during periods of increasing water temperatures, sea lamprey become more active and males at large may not have begun to release sex pheromone. In general, our results are consistent with those for pheromones of invertebrates, which are most effective when pest density is low and when pheromone competition is low.