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Different Patterns of Pheromones

Different patterns of pheromone distribution of sympatric genetically related species, capable of breeding under laboratory conditions, assist speciation. Young rabbits still at nestling stage, when g...

Different patterns of pheromone distribution of sympatric genetically related species, capable of breeding under laboratory conditions, assist speciation. Young rabbits still at nestling stage, when given the choice between articial nests with and without rabbit odor, display apreference for the nests which had the scent of their own species (Gambale and Dudzinski, unpublished).

Specific odor of Pheromones

There is ample evidence that when animals enter the area of a strange population they can detect it because of its characteristic odor.

Many people claim that they can distinguish the smell of different colonies of mice or rats. The characteristic odors are both intrinsic and extrinsic in origin. The intrinsic odor may be affected by food. Thus rats inhabiting a pig-sty smell differ- ently from those living in a cold store, which carry the scent of trimethylamine or from a sh curing room, which smell of buccoline (Steinbrecher 1962).

The behavior of a rabbit entering the home range of a strange colony suggests that it is reacting to pheromone olfactory cues. It adopts a characteristic body posture, moves cautiously, exploring olfactorily the surroundings. It suspends eating and marking, displays a submissive posture to all permanent residents of the ground and is ready to withdraw at the slightest aggressive provocation. In the course of an experi- mental study of the aggressive behavior of adult female rabbits towards immature individuals, it has been demonstrated that kittens born within a strange colony were more severely attacked than kittens born to members of the same group. When the adult females were blindfolded it became clear that olfactory identification was involved (Mykytowycz and Dudzinsky 1972) according to

Considering the high level of aggression of adult females to the kittens born to members of strange groups, it is important for the young rabbits early in their lives to recognize the characteristic pheromone odor of their own groups so that they can conne their movements to the area in which they remain protected from attacks by strange does and individuals of their own age (Mykytowycz and Ward 1971;Mykytowycz and Dudzinski 1972). Formation of group odors has been discussed elsewhere (Mykytowycz 1973) and it has been suggested that in the rabbit as in other species, e.g. sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps papuanus Thomas (Schultze-Westrum 1969), all members of a group add towards the characteristic odor, but that the dominant males are the most important contributors as they are the best equipped to produce scent and are most actively engaged in its distribution.

Marking of Pheromones

There are various reasons why young individuals may be kept isolated from other members of their social group by being conned to special sites. Thus they may need better protection from predators and adverse climatic conditions or may have to be kept closer to sources of food and water or protected from deliberate or accidental injury by conspecifics.

During the course of pheromone behavior prior to mating in the Indian rhinoceros, Rhinoceros urzicornis L., the bulls and estrous females become engaged in wild chases which continue for days around the group’s territory. Prior to this period, cows with young calves abandon the common territories and in small groups consisting of up to eight to ten mothers with their progenyFree Reprint Articles, move into smaller calving grounds at a distance of approximately half a mile. There they remain safe until the end of the mating period when they rejoin the rest of the group (Ullrich 1967).

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Alexander P is a blogger that studies pheromones.

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