Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 1806–1818 | Cite as

Lizard Epidermal Gland Secretions I: Chemical Characterization of the Femoral Gland Secretion of the Sungazer, Cordylus giganteus

  • Stefan Louw
  • Ben V. Burger
  • Maritha Le Roux
  • Johannes H. Van Wyk


The giant girdled lizard or sungazer, Cordylus giganteus, is endemic to South Africa. It has been suggested that in this species, as in other lizard species, epidermal glands in the femoral, pre-cloacal regions, and cloacal glands are the main sources of semiochemicals and that these secretions could play an important role at different levels of the social biology of the animals. To gain a better understanding of the nature of the femoral gland secretions of the sungazer, characterization of the constituents of the secretions was carried out. By using GC-MS analysis, in conjunction with auxiliary techniques, such as solventless sample introduction and trimethylsilyl derivatization, 53 relatively involatile compounds, including carboxylic acids, alcohols, ketones, esters, and steroids, were identified in the secretions of both sexes. The study showed that the secretions of male and female sungazers contain only semi-volatile chemicals.


Femoral glands Semiochemicals Pheromones Gas chromatography Mass spectrometry High-resolution mass spectrometry Steroids 



The research was supported by Stellenbosch University and the National Research Foundation, Pretoria, South Africa. Lanral Ruddock is thanked for the collection of secretions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Louw
    • 1
  • Ben V. Burger
    • 1
  • Maritha Le Roux
    • 1
  • Johannes H. Van Wyk
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory for Ecological Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Polymer ScienceStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Ecophysiology Laboratory, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

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