Do cephalopods produce pheromones?


Jul 25, 2005

Predators use various ways to detect their prey. For example, albatrosses use the "smell" of Antarctic krill at the surface in order to find them. Could this happen for cephalopods? As cephalopods have a wide range of reproductive strategies, is there any work to demonstrate that cephalopods might use pheromones to attract males or females of their own species, and consequently attract their predators?
Hi Jose. I'm not too sure about attracting predators, although this might be a consequence of pheromone release, but there is some work on this subject underway. Unfortunately all I can track down at present is the following (this is not the reference that I am thinking about/trying to locate in my piles).

Boal, J.G.; Golden, D.K. 1999. Distance chemoreception in the common cuttlefish, Sepia officianalis (Mollusca: Cephalopoda). Journal of Experimental Biology and Ecology, 235: 307-317.

And check out the references therein.
Not much work has been done on this. There is some research showing that chemicals associated with squid eggs influence male reproductive behavior (Hanlon's group if I remember correctly).

Mary Cheng looked for mating pheromones in dwarf species of octopus including O. wolfi, O. bocki and H. lunulata. Using standard "Y-maze" methodology, she found absolutely no evidence for any distance pheromone. Sexual recognition only occurred after mounting and usually insertion. The H. lunulata work is reported in our Animal Behaviour paper. The O. bocki research fell victim to the usual "negative results" trap and is only reported in her PhD dissertation (U.C. Berkeley).

Thanks Roy.

I've found another, but it's still not the ref that I'm looking for. Rather frustrating really (I saw it only a couple of days ago, but knocked over the 'vertical, temporal filing system' in the office).

Zatylny, C.; Gagnon, J.; Boucaud-Camou, E.; Henry, J. 2000. ILME: A waterborne pheromonal peptide released by the eggs of Sepia officianalis. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 275: 217-222.
Another couple:

Buresch, K.C.; Boal, J.G.; Knowles, J.; Debose, J.; Nichols, A.; Erwin, A.; Painter, S.D.; Nagle, G.T.; Hanlon, R.T. 2003. Contact Chemosensory Cues in Egg Bundles Elicit Male–Male Agonistic Conflicts in the Squid Loligo pealeii. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 29(3): 547-560.

This one (available for you at
Basil, J.A.; Hanlon, R.T.; Sheikh, S.I.; Atema, J. 2000. Three-dimensional odor-tracking by Nautilus pompilius. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 203: 1409-1414.

Still haven't found the one that I'm looking for!! Sorry.
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