Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 3–12 | Cite as

Analysis of gular and paracloacal gland secretions of the american alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) by thin-layer chromatography Gland, sex, and individual differences in lipid components

  • Paul J. Weldon
  • Timothy P. Scott
  • Michael J. Tanner


Secretions from the gular and the paracloacal glands of adult male and female American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) were extracted with chloroform, weighed, and analyzed by thin-layer chromatography. In both sexes, more lipoidal secretions were recovered from the paracloacal glands than from the gular glands. Females produce more lipoidal secretions in both sets of glands than do males. The thin-layer chromatograms of extracts from both glands exhibit bands consistent with aliphatic alcohols, sterols, free fatty acids, and steryl esters. Triglycerides, hydrocarbons, phosphatidylethanolamine, and lysophosphatidylcholine also are indicated in some chromatograms. Gland, sex, and individual differences are suggested in the thinlayer profiles.

Key Words

Alligator mississippiensis gular glands paracloacal glands lipids 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bell, T. 1827. On the structure and use of the submaxillary odoriferous gland in the genusCmcodilus.Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London 1827:1–8.Google Scholar
  2. Burken, R.R., Wertz, P.W., andDowning, D.T. 1985. A survey of polar and nonpolar lipids extracted from snake skin.Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 81B:315–318.Google Scholar
  3. Fester, G., andBertuzzi, F. 1934. Drüsen-Sekret der Alligatoren (Yacarol).Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges. 67B:365–370.Google Scholar
  4. Fester, G., Bertuzzi, F.A., andPucci, D. 1937. Drüsen-Sekret der Alligatoren (Yacarol) (II Mitteil.).Ber. Dtsch. Chem. Ges. 708:37–41.Google Scholar
  5. Johnsen, P.B., andWellington, J.L. 1982. Detection of glandular secretions by yearling alligators.Copeia 1982:705–708.Google Scholar
  6. LeBuff, C.R., Jr. 1957. Observations on captive and wild North American crocodilians.Herpetologica 13:24–28.Google Scholar
  7. McIlhenny, E.A. 1935. The Alligator's Life History. Christopher Publishing House, Boston.Google Scholar
  8. Navajas Polo, C., Rosado, A., Magraner, J., andRodriguez, G. 1988a. Estudio quimico del almizcle del generoCrocodylus que habita en Cuba. Ia. Algunos acidos grasos saturados presentes.Rev. Cubana Farm. 22:61–68.Google Scholar
  9. Navajas Polo, C., Rosado, A., Magraner, J., andRodriguez, G. 1988b. Estudio quimico del aimizcle del generoCrocodylus que habita en Cuba. Ib. Algunos acidos grasos insaturados presentes. Rev.Cubana Farm. 22:69–75.Google Scholar
  10. Neill, W.T. 1971. The Last of the Ruling Reptiles: Alligators, Crocodiles, and Their Kin. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Ott, L. 1988. An Introduction to Statistical Methods and Data Analysis. PWS-Kent Publishing Co., Boston.Google Scholar
  12. Shafagati, A.,Weldon, P.J., andWheeler, J.W. 1989. Lipids in the paracloacal gland secretions of dwarf (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) and smooth-fronted (P. trigonatus) caimans.Biochem. Syst. Ecol. In press.Google Scholar
  13. Siegel, S. 1956. Nonparametric Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Stewart, M.E. 1986. Sebaceous gland lipids, pp. 824–832,in J. Bereiter-Hahn, A.G. Matoltsky, and K.S. Richards (eds.). Biology of the Integument, Vol. 2. Vertebrates. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  15. Vliet, K.A. 1989. Social displays of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).Am. Zool. 29:1019–1031.Google Scholar
  16. Weldon, P.J., andBagnall, D. 1987. A survey of polar and nonpolar skin lipids from lizards by thin-layer chromatography.Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 87B:345–349.Google Scholar
  17. Weldon, P.J., andSampson, H.W. 1987. Paracloacal glands ofAlligator mississippiensis: A histological and histochemical study.J. Zool., London 212:109–115.Google Scholar
  18. Weldon, P.J., andSampson, H.W. 1988. The gular glands ofAlligator mississippiensis: Histology and preliminary analysis of lipoidal secretions.Copeia 1988:80–86.Google Scholar
  19. Weldon, P.J., Shafagati, A., andWheeler, J.W. 1987. Lipids in the gular gland secretion of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).Z. Naturforsch. 42c:1345–1346.Google Scholar
  20. Weldon, P.J., Shafagati, A., andWheeler, J.W. 1988. Lipids from the paracloacal glands of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).Lipids 23:727–729.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Weldon
    • 1
  • Timothy P. Scott
    • 1
  • Michael J. Tanner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyTexas A & M UniversityCollege Station

Personalised recommendations