Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 27-36

First online:

Sex recognition in the leopard gecko,Eublepharis macularius (Sauria: Gekkonidae) Possible mediation by skin-derived semiochemicals

  • Robert T. MasonAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Texas at Austin
  • , William H. N. GutzkeAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, University of Texas at Austin

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Male leopard geckoes,Eublepharis macularius, rely on skin-derived semiochemicals to determine the sex of conspecifics. Males respond to other males with agonistic behavior while females elicit courtship behavior from males. While females were shedding, males responded to them with agonistic behavior. The same females were courted both before and after shedding. An initial survey of hexane-extracted skin lipids from male and female geckoes revealed fatty acids common to both sexes. Several steroid analogs of cholesterol were unique to males while long-chain methyl ketones were unique to females. Results are discussed in the context of skin lipids serving as pheromones in reptiles.

Key Words

Sex recognition Gekkonidae gecko semiochemicals sex behavior agonistic behavior skin lipids fatty acids steroids methyl ketones