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.

Related Articles


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 December 22, 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
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