Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 11, pp 1450–1461 | Cite as

Identification of Volatiles from the Secretions and Excretions of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)

  • Peter AppsEmail author
  • Lesego Mmualefe
  • J. Weldon McNutt


Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to identify 103 organic compounds from urine, feces, anal glands, and preputial glands of free-ranging African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus. Aliphatic acids were the dominant class of compound in all materials. In addition to aliphatic acids, urine contained dimethyl sulfone, 1,3-propanediol, benzoic acid, 1-methyl-2,4-imidazolidinedione, and squalene as major components: feces contained indole and cholesterol; and both contained 2-piperidone, phenol, 4-methyl phenol, benzeneacetic acid, and benzenepropanoic acid and other compounds. Anal gland secretion was particularly rich in cholesterol and fatty acids, and preputial gland secretion rich in squalene. A large majority of the identified compounds have been reported from other mammals, including species sympatric with African wild dogs. Eleven of the African wild dog components have not been reported previously from mammals and have not been found in sympatric species; one component, 1-methylimidazole-5-carboxaldehyde has not been reported previously as a natural product. In the chemical profiles of their urine, feces, and anal gland secretion African wild dogs differ markedly from other canids.


Lycaon pictus African wild dog Semiochemical Pheromone Chemical communication Scent mark 



We are grateful to the Paul G Allen Family Foundation for its generous support of this research; to the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks for permission to work in Botswana under research permit number EWT 3/3/8 XXIV (71); to the Restek Corporation for supplying columns and consumables, and to Prof Ben Burger, Laboratory for Ecological Chemistry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa for providing 1-methyl-2,4-imidazolidinedione. Drs R. Jackson and A. Wilson carried out immobilizations. Samples were collected by the BPCT research team of L. Pfefo, M. Sarefo, B. Sango, A. Stein, F. Broekhuis, and G. Cozzi.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Apps
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lesego Mmualefe
    • 1
  • J. Weldon McNutt
    • 2
  1. 1.Paul G Allen Family Foundation Laboratory for Wildlife ChemistryBotswana Predator Conservation TrustMaunBotswana
  2. 2.Botswana Predator Conservation TrustMaunBotswana

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