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Uridine-5'-tri-phosphate is a candidate component of the soluble sex pheromone bouquet in a marine shrimp, Lysmata wurdemanni

Zhang, Dong; Liu, Xin; Harley, Maggy A.; Hardege, Jörg D.


Dong Zhang

Xin Liu

Maggy A. Harley



Characterisation of distance sex pheromones in decapods is challenging, although great efforts have been made in this field in the past 50 yr. In a previous study, we identified a component of the distance (soluble) sex pheromone bouquet of the peppermint shrimp Lysmata wurdemanni as being a uridine-5’-di-phosphate (UDP)-like chemical. However, UDP itself does not elicit the full pre-copulatory ‘approach and follow’ behaviour in peppermint shrimp. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the UDP-like chemical is uridine-5’-tri-phosphate (UTP), a metabolic product of chitin synthesis, and that this is the component of the distance sex pheromone of L. wurdemanni. We ran a series of bioassays to examine whether UDP, UTP or mixtures of the 2 compounds elicit male mating behaviour. Our results showed that male L. wurdemanni responded to UTP by displaying stereotyped courtship behaviour—the same behaviour elicited from males when exposed to water that previously contained moulting females. Combining UTP and UDP did not enhance the intensity of this courtship behaviour. The minimum effective concentration of UTP found to elicit courtship behaviour in the male shrimp was between 10−6 and 10−7 M. HPLC analysis showed the presence of UTP in the moulting water of female shrimp and also the partial conversion of UTP to UDP during the sample preparation procedure. Both the bioassay and chemical analysis results presented in this study suggest that UTP is a component of the distance sex pheromone in L. wurdemanni, and that the major peak in the chromatogram of a L. wurdemanni pheromone identified in previous studies might be a breakdown product of UTP.


Zhang, D., Liu, X., Harley, M. A., & Hardege, J. D. (2020). Uridine-5'-tri-phosphate is a candidate component of the soluble sex pheromone bouquet in a marine shrimp, Lysmata wurdemanni. Marine ecology progress series, 640, 139-146.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 4, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 23, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Apr 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 24, 2021
Journal Marine Ecology Progress Series
Print ISSN 0171-8630
Electronic ISSN 1616-1599
Publisher Inter Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 640
Pages 139-146
Keywords Uridine-5’-tri-phosphate; Sex pheromone; Shrimp; Courtship behaviour
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