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Pheromone odor on Skin Secretions

There are various reasons why young individuals may be kept isolated from other members of their pheromone group by being confined to special sites. Thus they may need better protection from predators...

There are various reasons why young individuals may be kept isolated from other members of their pheromone group by being confined 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 amatory behavior prior to mating in the Indian rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis 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 pheromone territories and in small groups consisting of up to eight to ten mothers with their progeny, 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). Rabbit litters are deposited in specially dug breeding chambers which, prior to just as large as non-dominant males (Mykytowycz and Dudzinski 1966) according to

The chemical composition of the skin glands of rabbits has been analysed using gas-chromatography, thin-layer chromatography, and electrophoresis. Differences occur in the composition of secretions from the separate types of glands and there may be variations related to sex and individual within the same type of gland. The secretion from the chin glands contains protein components as well as pheromones. The anal gland secretion contains protein as well as lipid — both free and protein-bound. The free lipid, with a ‘rabbity’ odor, accounts for approximately one percent of the total secretion. It is composed mostly of hydrocarbon together with an as yet unidentied component which has a mobility on thin-layer chroma- tography similar to aliphatic esters (Goodrich and Mykytowycz 1972).

In earlier discussions of social spacing attention has usually been paid to the repel» ling force of markings. However, it is not always in the interest of individual animals or of the species as a whole that conspecifics should be kept apart. Each species possesses a specific social distance, i.e. the maximum distance between individuals of any group. On this basis Hediger (1955) differentiates between ‘contact animals’ and ‘distance animals’. The ‘contact animals’ are mainly gregarious species.

Gregariousness of the wild rabbit has been dealt with elsewhere (Mykyto- wycz and Fullagar 1973) and it has been emphasized that basically there is no tendency to disperse even in the presence of ample space. Rabbits will try to associate themselves with an existing warren and consequently create conditions which support social frictions. This behavior adversely affects a proportion of the population, usually the subordinate animals. Conditions in any warren, while detri- mental to some individualsFree Articles, are beneficial to the species by acting as a density regulating mechanism. Imprinting to the odor of its own species is undoubtedly a factor attracting an individual to an area occupied by conspecifics.

Pheromone odor associated with the space occupied by animals can be perceived even by man. It is not difficult to detect rat or mouse infested premises from the characteristic odors or to tell a horse stable from a dairy shed. Theseodors are derived from the spontaneously deposited metabolic products as well as from deliberate space marking activities.

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Alexander P is a blogger that studies human pheromones.

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