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Hemiterpenoids and Pyrazines in the Odoriferous Urine of the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)

Abstract

Maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) are endemic to South America, monogamous, solitary, and threatened in the wild. Maned wolf urine has a pungent and powerful odour and is used for scent marking. There is evidence to suggest that the presence of a male may be required to initiate oestrus and/or ovulation, thus implying the presence of a primer pheromone. We have employed solid phase dynamic extraction (SPDE)/GC-MS to identify a number of volatile compounds in maned wolf urine. These include sulphur-containing hemiterpenoids which are predominantly responsible for the distinctive urinary odour, hemiterpenoid alcohols which are known bark beetle pheromones, and a variety of pyrazines, some of which are known to be insect pheromones. Hemiterpenoids are most likely biosynthesised via a shunt of the mevalonate pathway, while pyrazines are thought to be products of amino acid metabolism. The abundance of some of these compounds increases as the urine ages, perhaps providing a timed release of putative chemical signals.

Keywords

  • Volatile Organic Compound
  • Gray Wolf
  • Roasted Coffee
  • Isopentenyl Diphosphate
  • Isopentenyl Pyrophosphate

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Acknowledgements

Urine samples were provided by the Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and the Little Rock Zoo. We thank Paul Caster of the Little Rock Zoo for assistance in urine collection. We are grateful for the hemiterpenoid and pyrazine samples that were provided by Joe Brophy, Doug Crump, Peter Schieberle, and Tony Woolhouse. TEG appreciates financial support provided by the Hendrix College Odyssey Program, Julia Mobley, and John and Laura Byrd. Funding was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation for the GC-MS (NSF CRUI grant to T.E.G., Bruce Schulte, and the late L.E.L. Rasmussen, Award Nos. 02-17062, -17068 and -16862, respectively) and the NMR spectrometer (NSF MRI grant to Hendrix College, Award No. 1040470).

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Goodwin, T.E. et al. (2013). Hemiterpenoids and Pyrazines in the Odoriferous Urine of the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). In: East, M., Dehnhard, M. (eds) Chemical Signals in Vertebrates 12. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5927-9_13

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