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Chemical characterisation of potential pheromones from the shoulder gland of the Northern yellow-shouldered-bat, Sturnira parvidens (Phyllostomidae: Stenodermatinae)

Faulkes, C. G., Elmore, J. S., Baines, D. A., Fenton, B., Simmons, N. B. and Clare, E. L. (2019) Chemical characterisation of potential pheromones from the shoulder gland of the Northern yellow-shouldered-bat, Sturnira parvidens (Phyllostomidae: Stenodermatinae). PeerJ, 7. e7734. ISSN 2167-8359

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To link to this item DOI: 10.7717/peerj.7734


Bats of the genus Sturnira (Family Phyllostomidae) are characterised by shoulder glands that are more developed in reproductively mature adult males. The glands produce a waxy secretion that accumulates on the fur around the gland, dyeing the fur a dark colour and giving off a pungent odour. These shoulder glands are thought to play a role in their reproductive behaviour. Using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, we analysed solvent extracts of fur surrounding the shoulder gland in the northern-shouldered bat, Sturnira parvidens to (i) characterise the chemical composition of shoulder gland secretions for the first time, and (ii) look for differences in chemical composition among and between adult males, sub-adult/juvenile males and adult females. Fur solvent extracts were analysed as liquids and also further extracted using headspace solid-phase microextraction to identify volatile components in the odour itself. Odour fingerprint analysis using non-metric multidimensional scaling plots and multivariate analysis revealed clear and significant differences (P < 0.001) between adult males vs both juvenile males and adult females. The chemical components of the shoulder gland secretion included terpenes and phenolics, together with alcohols and esters, most likely derived from the frugivorous diet of the bat. Many of the compounds identified were found exclusively or in elevated quantities among adult (reproductive) males compared with adult females and non-reproductive (juvenile) males. This strongly suggests a specific role in male–female attraction although a function in male–male competition and/or species recognition is also possible.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Research Group
ID Code:86349
Publisher:PeerJ Inc


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