Scientific reports

Imorin: a sexual attractiveness pheromone in female red-bellied newts (Cynops pyrrhogaster).

PMID 28120945


The male red-bellied newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster) approaches the female's cloaca prior to performing any courtship behaviour, as if he is using some released substance to gauge whether she is sexually receptive. Therefore, we investigated whether such a female sexual attractiveness pheromone exists. We found that a tripeptide with amino acid sequence Ala-Glu-Phe is secreted by the ciliary cells in the epithelium of the proximal portion of the oviduct of sexually developed newts and confirmed that this is the major active substance in water in which sexually developed female newts have been kept. This substance only attracted sexually developed male newts and acted by stimulating the vomeronasal epithelial cells. This is the first female sexual attractiveness peptide pheromone to be identified in a vertebrate.