Scientists have discovered three aldehyde, which attract females cat’s lemurs during the mating period. These substances are contained in the secret of the carpal glands of males, they smeared his tail to spread the smell. Found long-chain aldehydes can be first known by the pheromones of primates. Article published in the journal Current Biology.
We used to think that primates rely on their vision, and the olfactory system they have developed is not as good as, for example, in rodents. But wet-nosed primates, or prosimians, use smell to communicate with other dogs, and their sense of smell is much betterthan suhonos primates (this includes people). Males lemurs on the wrists there are glands that secrete volatile substances. Animals are rubbed with their secret furry tail, and then waving to them and spread the smell. The scent tells other lemurs social or reproductive status of individuals, and thus animals mark their territory.
Scientists from Japan headed by Kazushige Tohara (Kazushige Touhara) of Tokyo University asked a question, what is the role of odors in communicating Majorova lemurs and what substances form the basis of secret carpal glands. They watched the cat’s lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Japanese center for monkeys in mating season and other periods.
Four males (their name was Bon Doicu, AGF and Dan) for two years twice a month to take samples of the secret of the carpal glands for analysis by gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection. The odours were divided into those who take in the mating season and beyond, and gave a sniff to the four females (Chu, Hime, Poire and Lavender).
During the mating season the females cat’s lemurs much longer smelled the males than in the rest of the time (p = 0,038). When females were given a sniff cotton balls moistened with a secret that has taken the males in the mating season, they sniffed him for longer than to other odors (p < 0.05).
In the samples which were taken during the mating season, compared to the rest of the secrets were much more three aldehydes (dodecanol, 12-methyltryptamines and tetradecanes). These substances aroma of herbs, fruits and flowers. They have never been found in the secretions of primates, but we know that they play the role of pheromones have mantises and butterflies in assulta.
Scientists have suggested that the separation of the aldehydes causing the male sex hormone testosterone. To test the hypothesis, the lemur Bonu common period (when testosterone levels are low) were given injections of this hormone, and then analyzed the secret of his carpal glands. And to find out which of the three substances to attract females, they give a sniff cotton wool soaked with solutions of aldehydes.
After the injection of testosterone number 12-methyltricyclo bona in the glands increased. Females actively sniffing 12 methylcatechol and tetradecanol (p < 0.05), but not dodecanal.
Finally, the researchers tested the scents in conditions more close to natural. In the cage with several females put up with cotton wool soaked in either of the separate solutions of aldehydes, or a mixture thereof. Measured how frequently females approached the tube, or smell it and for how long they did it.
Outside of the breeding season smelling tube was interested in lemurs the same way, whatever the smell it neither placed. And during the mating season, females are significantly more smelled the mixture of three aldehydes, but not each of the substances individually, in comparison with the control sample (p < 0.01).
Found aldehydes fit the definition of pheromone: a substance that distinguishes one individual that affect the behavior of other individuals. You want to better understand the effect dodecanol, 12-methyltryptamines and tetradecanes on female lemurs, but they can become the first known pheromones of primates.