Laboratory studies in domesticated goldfish (Carassius auratus) show that, during the preovulatory luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, females release a complex steroidal pheromone that induces in males a rapid increase of plasma LH, which in turn increases strippable milt (sperm and seminal fluid) prior to ovulation and spawning. The objective of this study was to determine if the same phenomenon occurs in a wild congener, the crucian carp (Carassius carassius), under field conditions where fish are held in natural waters under ambient temperature and photoperiod. During the spawning season in June 2003, crucian carp were trapped in a small pond near Uppsala, Sweden, and held separately by sex in floating net pens. Addition of untreated females to male pens did not change male LH concentrations or milt volume during the 17 h sampling period. In contrast.. addition of females injected with Ovaprim (TM) (to induce an LH surge and ovulation) increased male LH concentrations at all sample times (5, 9, 13, and 17 h) following female addition and increased milt volumes at all but the first (5 h) sample time. Similar increases in male LH and milt that also occurred when untreated females ovulated spontaneously after addition to male pens suggest it is female ovulatory condition, rather than injection of ovaprim per se, that induced male LH and milt responses. Males also increased LH and milt 9 It after addition of females injected with the goldfish pheromonal steroid 4-pregnen-17,20 beta-diol-3-one (17,20 beta P), suggesting that similar responses to ovaprim-injected females were due, at least in part, to release of preovulatory pheromonal steroid(s). The clear and consistent effects of ovulatory females on male LH and milt, and the fact that crucian carp adapted well to confinement.. ovulated spontaneously, and exhibited apparently normal spawning behavior, all suggest that this species can serve as a useful cyprinid model to study reproductive processes in natural conditions.
2006. Vol. 149, no 3, 294-302 p.