Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sea lampreys turning up the heat

Date:
June 27, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Scientists found that male sea lampreys have a secondary sex characteristic that creates heat when they get near a female lamprey, something the females find hard to say no to.

Sea lampreys are a very destructive invasive species. Their presence in the Great Lakes has significantly reduced the numbers of many species of fish, including whitefish.
Credit: Daymon J. Hartley

Male sea lampreys may not be the best-looking creatures swimming in our lakes and streams, but they apparently have something going for them that the ladies may find irresistible.

Research by a team of Michigan State University scientists found that the males have a secondary sex characteristic that creates heat when they get near a female lamprey, something the females find hard to say no to.

The work of the team focused on a small bump located near the male's anterior dorsal fin. Close examination of this bump determined that it was full of fat cells, cells that are similar to ones found in mammals, animals that need to maintain their own body temperature.

By putting a probe into the bump, the researchers found that the temperature of the bump, also known as rope tissue, increased by 0.3 degrees Celsius when the male approached a female, sometimes even more, depending upon the female.

The role this "bump" played in spawning was not known until now. Scientists had thought it merely as ornamental or playing some other minor role.

"We thought it was just a structure that was used for some kind of mechanical stimulation that they needed to trigger the female to lay eggs," said Weiming Li, a professor of fisheries and wildlife and a team member.

Until now it was believed that males attracted females by releasing pheromones.

By attempting to better understand the reproductive biology of the sea lamprey, the researchers hope to find ways to reduce its numbers or eliminate it from the Great Lakes.

Sea lampreys are a very destructive invasive species. Resembling 18-inch eels, they can live in both salt and fresh water and likely found their way into the Great Lakes via shipping channels. They have no natural predators in the Great Lakes.

Parasitic lampreys attach themselves to other fish, such as salmon, trout and whitefish, and suck out the fish's body fluids. The lamprey's sucking disk and sharp teeth scar the host fish, killing many of them. Under some conditions, only one of seven fish attacked by a sea lamprey will survive.

A sea lamprey can kill 40 or more pounds of fish, and they've caused the extinction of three species of whitefish in the Great Lakes. The U.S. and Canadian governments together spend about $10 million to $15 million per year on lamprey control.

Also contributing to the work were the laboratories of Jongeun Choi, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Titus Brown, assistant professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

This latest research is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yu-Wen Chung-Davidson, M. Cody Priess, Chu-Yin Yeh, Cory O. Brant, Nicholas S. Johnson, Ke Li, Kaben G. Nanlohy, Mara B. Bryan, C. Titus Brown, Jongeun Choi and Weiming Li. A thermogenic secondary sexual character in male sea lamprey. J Exp Biol, 2013 216:2702-2712 DOI: 10.1242/jeb.085746

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Sea lampreys turning up the heat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627125325.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, June 27). Sea lampreys turning up the heat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627125325.htm
Michigan State University. "Sea lampreys turning up the heat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627125325.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins