Injured Eurasian ruffe, Gymnocephalus cernuus, release an alarm pheromone that could be used to control their dispersal

Peter J. Maniak, Ryan D. Lossing, Peter W. Sorensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Eurasian ruffe, an undesirable species of fish that was introduced into the Great Lakes from Eurasia, employs an alarm pheromone which might be useful in bio-control. This pheromone is released from ruffe skin when it is damaged and serves to reduce the swimming and feeding activity of exposed conspecifics while repelling fish from areas treated with it. Responsiveness to this cue is mediated by the olfactory sense and highly specific: ruffe do not respond to the odor of damaged heterospecifics, and heterospecifics (goldfish) do not respond to it. The pheromone retains its activity with freezing but not with passage through the gut of a predator. Extracts of frozen ruffe skin should be considered for use as a repellant to exclude ruffe from areas where they are not wanted such as harbors where ships take on ballast water, spawning grounds, or passageS connected to inland waterways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Many thanks to the crew of the R V Coaster and the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Ashland, Wisconsin who collected the ruffe used in these experiments. Dr. K. Dabrowski kindly arranged for the shipment of yellow perch. Special thanks also to Dr. Jan Smith for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript and to our three reviewers (M. Hoff, D. Ogle, and D. Chivers) who also provided many helpful suggestions. This work is the result of research sponsored by the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program supported by the NOAA Office of Sea Grant, U.S. Department of Commerce, under grant No. USDOC-N46RG0101, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Fond du Lac Reservation Natural Resources Program (L. Schwarzkopf), and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for government purposes, not withstanding any copyright notation that may appear hereon. This paper is journal reprint No. 462 of the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program.


  • Alarm
  • Gymnocephalus cernuus
  • Integrated pest management
  • Olfaction
  • Pheromone
  • Ruffe


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