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J Chem Ecol. 2011 Mar;37(3):260-2. doi: 10.1007/s10886-011-9923-6. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

The effect of elevated steroids released by reproductive male round gobies, Neogobius melanostomus, on olfactory responses in females.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada.


The round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, is a highly successful invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Previous behavioral studies implied that females are attracted by pheromones to the nests of reproductive males, and that males release putative steroidal pheromones--unconjugated as well as conjugated forms of 3α-hydroxy-5β-androstane-11,17-dione (11-O-ETIO)-following stimulation of the hypothalamic--gonadal axis with salmon gonadotropin releasing hormone analog (sGnRHa). In this study, we tested the olfactory system of females in response to extracts containing these released steroids. We compared electrical field potential responses from the olfactory epithelium (electro-olfactogram, EOG) of non-reproductive females to methanol extracts of water that previously held males, collected before and after injection of the males with sGnRHa or saline. The females showed increased EOG responses to the post-injection extracts when males were treated with sGnRHa but not saline. This finding provides further evidence for interactions between male and female N. melanostomus via steroidal reproductive pheromones.

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