Carp sensory attractants

Project Leader: Prof Peter Sorensen, University of Minnesota, USA

Aim: To identify male and female sex pheromonal attractants for the common carp.

Projects:  4.f.4

Project summary

Advances in isolating carp and goldfish specific pheromone cues (in the Sorensen laboratory) have led to the possibility of employing sensory attractants (pheromones) for carp control.

This project developed means to isolate, test and identify pheromones released by both mature male and ovulated (sexually-receptive) female carp. Sexually-active male and female carp were found to release potent sex pheromones that attract members of the opposite sex.

In both cases, the pheromone is comprised of multiple components which include either male or female sex hormones and a common set of non-hormonal chemicals derived from carp body odour.

Key achievements

  • The male carp sex pheromone cue was found to be species-specific, sex-specific and potent. Androstenedione (a potent olfactory stimulant of carp and a known component of the goldfish sex pheromone) can explain about half of the extract’s behavioural activity in the laboratory.
  • Initial experiments using laboratory mazes discovered that ovulated female carp release a species-specific prostaglandin-derived sex attractant for sexually mature/active males.
  • Sex pheromone release in female carp can be precisely induced/mimicked by treating non-ovulated female carp with a synthetic prostaglandin (PGF2α).
  • Synthetic prostaglandin implants can induce pheromone release in female carp for up to a week and field trials have shown attraction of male carp into the vicinity of cage held PGF2α-implanted female carp.

Key deliverables

  • Synthetic prostaglandin (PGF2α)-implant technology will be developed for more extensive testing in Australia.
  • Publishing scientific papers describing the work in detail.
  • A ‘technical manual’ style document, orientated towards the end-user of the technology (that is, a ‘how to’ type of document that will include the methods and results of the field work and the practical field orientated aspects such as the implant set-up, and the trapping field trials).

Project team

Hangkyo Lim, Mario Travaline.

Project partners

IA CRC, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, University of Minnesota, USA.

Further information

Stacey NE and Sorensen PW (2008) Hormonally Derived Sex Pheromones in Fish, Chapter 6 pp 201-244 in Rocha MJ, Arukwe A and Kapoor BG (eds) Fish Reproduction. Science Publishers, Enfield, New Hampshire, USA, pp 632.

For further information, contact us.