Behavioural response of adult sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) to predator and conspecific alarm cues: evidence of additive effects.
Sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus, an invasive pest in the Upper Great Lakes, avoid odours that represent danger in their habitat. These odours include conspecific alarm cues and predator cues, like 2-phenylethylamine hydrochloride (PEA HCl), which is found in the urine of mammalian predators. Whether conspecific alarm cues and predator cues function additively or synergistically when mixed together is unknown. The objectives of this experimental study were to determine if the avoidance response of sea lamprey to PEA HCl is proportional to the concentration delivered, and if the avoidance response to the combination of a predator cue (PEA HCl) and sea lamprey alarm cue is additive. To accomplish the first objective, groups of ten sea lampreys were placed in an artificial stream channel and presented with stepwise concentrations of PEA HCl ranging from 5×10-8 to 5×10-10 M and a deionized water control. Sea lampreys exhibited an increase in their avoidance behaviour in response to increasing concentrations of PEA HCl. To accomplish the second objective, sea lampreys were exposed to PEA HCl, conspecific alarm cue and a combination of the two. Sea lampreys responded to the combination of predator cue and conspecific alarm cue in an additive manner.