Evidence of a male sex pheromone in the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)

Lynda D. Corkum, Wes J. Arbuckle, Andrea J. Belanger, Donald B. Gammon, Weiming Li, Alexander P. Scott, Barbara Zielinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The reproductive success of the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), an invasive fish, may be mediated by the use of pheromones. We hypothesized that reproductive male (RM) round gobies release sex pheromone to which reproductive females (RF) respond. In this study, we compared behavioural and electrophysiological responses of reproductive and non-reproductive female round gobies to conspeci fic males. Results of behavioural experiments in the laboratory showed that RF spent significantly more time near the source of the male odour compared with odours from control water. However, RF did not distinguish between odours from non-reproductive male (non-RM) water and control water. Non-reproductive females (non-RF) were not attracted to odours released from RM or non-RM water. Results of electro-olfactogram (EOG) responses showed that both RF and non-RF discriminated between HPLC fractionated RM and non-RM odours. However, the EOG responses of RF were about eight-fold higher than non-RF exposed to RM odours. These findings confirm that RM round gobies release a pheromone signal that attracts RF. The results of this research may be useful in developing control strategy using natural pheromones to disrupt the reproductive behaviour of the invasive round goby and to curtail its effects on native species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Behaviour
  • Electro-olfactogram
  • Neogobius melanostomus
  • Pheromone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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