Volatile Compounds from Anal Glands of the Wolverine, Gulo gulo

Abstract

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.).

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to William F. Wood.

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Wood, W.F., Terwilliger, M.N. & Copeland, J.P. Volatile Compounds from Anal Glands of the Wolverine, Gulo gulo. J Chem Ecol 31, 2111–2117 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-005-6080-9

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Key Words

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