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Keywords:

  • lemur;
  • scent marking;
  • chemical fingerprint;
  • olfaction;
  • gas chromatography-mass spectrometry;
  • prosimian primate

Abstract

Although prosimians are greatly olfaction-oriented, little is known about the specifics of how they use scent to communicate. In this preliminary study we attempted to delineate intra- and interspecific differences among the anogenital gland secretions of two lemur species (Lemur catta and Propithecus verreauxi coquereli) using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results indicate that the two species are discernible through scent. Furthermore, we were able to identify reproductive status using this technique. The anogenital secretions of the different sexes in L. catta, though perhaps not P. v. coquereli, are chemically distinguishable. Given this information, it appears that at least some lemur species can use scent marks to determine species, sex, and reproductive status. Am J Primatol 63:49–62, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.