Moon Phases (Animation: NASA)

The moon affects the tides and has a connection with migration, mating, and feeding behavior, but what is it that actually affects behavior? A group of animal biologists and chemists at Nagoya University in Japan have identified the pheromone involved that triggers puffer fish to spawn on beaches using moonlight.

Researchers decided to test their theories out on grass puffers and found that 125 genes are involved in their spawning behavior, including crucial genes for reproduction. They also found that during spring tide, the puffers release a pheromone called PGE2 into the seawater which triggers this beach spawning behavior in males and females.

“The synchronization of reproduction with the lunar cycle is not limited to organisms living along the shoreline,” explained lead researcher Professor Takashi Yoshimura. He believes that this kind of research also has implications for humans. “It is worth noting,” he said, “that menstrual cycles, sleep-wake cycles, and manic-depressive cycles are synchronized with the moon’s cycle in humans, and the lunar cycle generally affects human biology and behavior.”

Hmmmm….we really are connected to nature in so many ways!

For more info see: Andreatta, G., Raible, F. and Tessmar-Raible, K., 2022. Biological rhythms: Hormones under moon control. Current Biology, 32(22).

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