Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 513–531 | Cite as

Analysis of chemical signals in a primate species (Saguinus fuscicollis): Use of behavioral, chemical, and pattern recognition methods

  • A. M. Belcher
  • A. B. SmithIII
  • P. C. Jurs
  • B. Lavine
  • G. Epple


Scent marking with specialized skin glands is a common behavior in the tamarin,Saguinus fuscicollis. The scent marks identify species, subspecies, gender, and individual, and they also contain information on the social position and hormonal condition of an animal. The marks are chemically complex, containing a large number of compounds. Analysis by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry has identified 16 major components (squalene and 15 esters of butyric acid). These compounds are present in the marks of males and females of two subspecies,Saguinus f. fuscicollis andSaguinus f. illigeri. Application of computerized pattern recognition techniques has shown that concentration patterns of some of the butyrates are diagnostic of the two subspecies while concentration patterns of other butyrates are diagnostic of males and females regardless of subspecies. Behavioral studies have shown that the concentration patterns of butyrates and squalene alone do not encode information on subspecies and gender. It is, however, likely that this information is partially encoded by these specific butyrate-squalene concentration patterns but that yet unidentified compounds in the scent marks serve as necessary synergists.

Key words

Chemical communication scent marking pattern recognition Saguinus fuscicollis GC-MS primate tamarin skin secretions n-butyrate esters concentration profiles 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Belcher
    • 1
  • A. B. SmithIII
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. C. Jurs
    • 3
  • B. Lavine
    • 3
  • G. Epple
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.The Monell Chemical Senses CenterWest Germany
  2. 2.The Department of ChemistryUniversity of PennsylvaniaWest Germany
  3. 3.The Department of ChemistryPennsylvania State UniversityWest Germany
  4. 4.German Primate CenterGöttingenWest Germany

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