Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 31, Issue 9, pp 2111–2117 | Cite as

Volatile Compounds from Anal Glands of the Wolverine, Gulo gulo

  • William F. WoodEmail author
  • Miranda N. Terwilliger
  • Jeffrey P. Copeland


Dichloromethane extracts of wolverine (Gulo gulo, Mustelinae, Mustelidae) anal gland secretion were examined by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The secretion composition was complex and variable for the six samples examined: 123 compounds were detected in total, with the number per animal ranging from 45 to 71 compounds. Only six compounds were common to all extracts: 3-methylbutanoic acid, 2-methylbutanoic acid, phenylacetic acid, α-tocopherol, cholesterol, and a compound tentatively identified as 2-methyldecanoic acid. The highly odoriferous thietanes and dithiolanes found in anal gland secretions of some members of the Mustelinae [ferrets, mink, stoats, and weasels (Mustela spp.) and zorillas (Ictonyx spp.)] were not observed. The composition of the wolverine’s anal gland secretion is similar to that of two other members of the Mustelinae, the pine and beech marten (Martes spp.).

Key Words

Wolverine Gulo gulo Mustelinae Mustelidae scent marking fear-defense mechanism short-chain carboxylic acids 



We thank Audrey Magoun, Allen Barrette of Fairbanks Fur Tannery, and Tom Seaton of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for help in obtaining the samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • William F. Wood
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miranda N. Terwilliger
    • 2
  • Jeffrey P. Copeland
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA
  2. 2.Alaska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biology & WildlifeUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest ServiceRocky Mountain Research StationMissoulaUSA

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