Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 2091–2106 | Cite as

Volatiles from feces of wild male house mice

Chemistry and effects on behavior and heart Rate
  • B. S. Goodrich
  • S. Gambale
  • Pamela R. Pennycuik
  • T. D. Redhead


Volatile compounds from the fecal pellets deposited by a house mouse could be used for the purpose of communication with conspecifics. Analysis of volatiles from fresh and aged pellets by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that many compounds were present and that ketones, alcohols, and carboxylic acids were the most common. Introducing volatiles from the fecal pellets of strange males into the territory of a singly housed male altered the site at which the resident mouse deposited most of its feces, and introducing the fecal pellets of a male mouse into the environment where it encountered a conspecific improved its success in an encounter with a stranger. The combined volatiles from feces of strange males had a greater effect on the heart rate of a male mouse than the combined volatiles from its own feces. Several individual volatiles from the fecal pellets of strange males affected the heart rates of test animals, but individual animals responded differently to constituents with similar retention times.

Key words

Mouse Mus domesticus feces fecal volatiles volatile constituents territoriality heart rate 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. S. Goodrich
    • 1
  • S. Gambale
    • 2
  • Pamela R. Pennycuik
    • 1
  • T. D. Redhead
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Wildlife and EcologyCSIRONorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Division of Wildlife and EcologyCSIROLynehamAustralia

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