Prey are under selection to minimize predation losses. In aquatic environments many prey use chemical cues released by predators, which initiate predator-avoidance. A prominent example of behavioural predator-avoidance constitutes diel vertical migration (DVM) in the freshwater microcrustacean Daphnia spp., which is induced by chemical cues (kairomones) released by planktivorous fish. In a bioassay-guided approach using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry we isolated the kairomone from fish incubation water and identified it as 5α-cyprinol sulfate inducing DVM in Daphnia at picomolar concentrations. The role of 5α-cyprinol sulfate in lipid digestion in fish explains why from an evolutionary perspective fish has not stopped releasing 5α-cyprinol sulfate despite the disadvantages for the releaser. The identification of the DVM-inducing kairomone enables investigating its spatial and temporal distribution and the underlying molecular mechanism of its perception. Furthermore, it allows to test if fish-mediated inducible defenses in other aquatic invertebrates are triggered by the same compound.
No external funding was received for this work.
- Georg Pohnert, University of Jena, Germany
© 2019, Hahn et al.
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