A field test verifies that pheromones can be useful for sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) control in the Great Lakes

C. Michael Wagner, Michael L. Jones, Michael B. Twohey, Peter W. Sorensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Pheromone-baited traps have proven highly effective for managing insect pests by selectively removing reproductively active adults prior to mating. Here, we report a field test of two pheromones produced by the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, which may be useful for controlling pest populations in the Laurentian Great Lakes. In the Trout River, Michigan, we demonstrated that (i) 90% of actively migrating sea lampreys could be drawn into streams treated with a migratory pheromone and (ii) lampreys were three times more likely to enter a barrier-integrated trap in a treated stream when pheromone was discharged directly through that trap (vs. an adjacent, unbaited trap). In a second experiment, we baited three traps with spermiating males (that are known to release a sex pheromone) to investigate how the quantity and spatial distribution of multiple pheromone signals would affect our ability to trap ovulating females. We found that mature females showed a strong tendency to select traps with multiple males over a trap with a single male when the signals were encountered simultaneously, but not when encountered sequentially. Our results strongly suggest pheromones may prove highly effective as attractants in trap-based management tactics for sea lamprey in the Great Lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-479
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


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