Document Detail

Chemical composition of inks of diverse marine molluscs suggests convergent chemical defenses.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17393278     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Some marine molluscs, notably sea hares, cuttlefish, squid, and octopus, release ink when attacked by predators. The sea hare Aplysia californica releases secretions from the ink gland and opaline gland that protect individuals from injury or death from predatory spiny lobsters through a combination of mechanisms that include chemical deterrence, sensory disruption, and phagomimicry. The latter two mechanisms are facilitated by millimolar concentrations of free amino acids (FAA) in sea hare ink and opaline, which stimulate the chemosensory systems of predators, ultimately leading to escape by sea hares. We hypothesize that other inking molluscs use sensory disruption and/or phagomimicry as a chemical defense. To investigate this, we examined concentrations of 21 FAA and ammonium in the defensive secretions of nine species of inking molluscs: three sea hares (Aplysia californica, Aplysia dactylomela, Aplysia juliana) and six cephalopods (cuttlefish: Sepia officinalis; squid: Loligo pealei, Lolliguncula brevis, Dosidicus gigas; octopus: Octopus vulgaris, Octopus bimaculoides). We found millimolar levels of total FAA and ammonium in these secretions, and the FAA in highest concentration were taurine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, alanine, and lysine. Crustaceans and fish, which are major predators of these molluscs, have specific receptor systems for these FAA. Our chemical analysis supports the hypothesis that inking molluscs have the potential to use sensory disruption and/or phagomimicry as a chemical defense.
Charles D Derby; Cynthia E Kicklighter; P M Johnson; Xu Zhang
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2007-03-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of chemical ecology     Volume:  33     ISSN:  0098-0331     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Chem. Ecol.     Publication Date:  2007 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-06-06     Completed Date:  2007-07-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505563     Medline TA:  J Chem Ecol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1105-13     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, Brains & Behavior Program and Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-4010, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Amino Acids / analysis*
Aplysia / physiology*
Behavior, Animal / physiology
Cephalopoda / physiology*
Complex Mixtures / analysis
Pheromones / analysis*
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / analysis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Amino Acids; 0/Complex Mixtures; 0/Pheromones; 0/Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

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