Special glands in male sea lamprey gills help attract females from large distances by releasing a bile acid produced by the liver, which acts as a long-range sex pheromone.
"During the reproductive season male lampreys. which build nests in streams, exude a substance that draws females from long distances downstream. A team of biologists headed by Weiming Li, of Michigan State University, has identified this substance- a bile acid produced by the liver and probably released through the gills by special glands found only in breeding males." (Reebs 2002:28)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Reebs, Stephan. 2002. Samplings. Natural History. 111(7):
- Li, W; Scott, A.P.; Siefkes, M.J.; Yan, H.; Liu, Q.; Yun, S.; Gage, D. 2002. Bile acid secreted by male sea lamprey that acts as a sex phermone. Science. 296: 138-141.
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