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Individual and Sex Differences in the Chemical Composition of Pheromone-Like Substances from the Skin Glands of the Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus

Benjamin S. Goodrich, Roman Mykytowycz
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1379043 540-548 First published online: 27 September 1972


The chemical compositions of secretions from the anal, chin, and inguinal glands from 1450 rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, caught in the field in Australia, were analyzed using gas chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, and electrophoresis on agar and polyacrylamide gels. Analyses were carried out on pure secretions obtained from anal and chin glands, on sebum scraped from the inguinal pouches, and on lipid extracts of homogenates prepared from whole glands. Differences in the chemical composition of secretions from separate types of glands were found. In addition, variations in the composition of the same type of gland related to sex, as well as variations between individuals were demonstrated. Gland secretions contained proteins and carbohydrates. Lipid extracts obtained from gland homogenates consisted of hydrocarbons, nonglyceryl esters, fatty acids, and cholesterol. Triglycerides, diglycerides and monoglycerides were also present in extracts from the chin gland and the sebaceous portions of the inguinal glands. The significance of the results is discussed briefly.

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