, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 229-235

A test of the hypothesis of pheromone attraction in salmonid migration

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Synopsis

We tested the hypothesis that anadromous salmonids are guided on their homeward migration by population-specific pheromones. Our findings do not support the hypothesis. Wild migrant Arctic charr,Salvelinus alpinus, from Ikarut River, Labrador were transferred and held in a tributary previously uninhabited by anadromous fish. None of the charr migrating up Ikarut River entered the tributary after fish were transferred. Similarly, migrant charr, which were caught in Ikarut River and released in the tributary below the captive fish, did not remain in the tributary. We re-evaluated the data which have been used to uphold the concept of pheromone attraction in salmonid migration and concluded that support for the hypothesis is unsubstantiated.