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Castoreum of Beaver (Castor Canadensis): Function, Chemistry and Biological Activity of Its Components

  • Dietland Müller-Schwarze

Abstract

Castoreum, the paste found in the paired castor sacs of both sexes in beaver, Castor canadensis and C. fiber, has been used for medicines and perfumes since time immemorial. The Romans burned castoreum in lamps and believed that the fumes caused abortions (McCully, 1969). Trappers have attracted beaver to castoreum lures for a long time. As for the natural history of castoreum, Audubon first published a trapper’s report of mud piles topped with strong-smelling castoreum that beaver built at the banks of their ponds. Two neighbor colonies alternated in marking, accumulating mud piles up to five feet high (Audubon and Bachman, 1849). To this date, we don’t know the precise role scent mounds play in the behavior, physiology and population ecology of the beaver. Aleksiuk (1968) proposed that scent marks may warn transient beaver away from occupied territories and that scent mounding may be an epideictic display sensu Wynne Edwards (1962) that communicates population density.

Keywords

Tree Shrew Scent Mark Spiny Mouse Male Hamster Castor Canadensis 
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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietland Müller-Schwarze
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Environmental Science and ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuseUSA

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