Chemical characterization of the lipids in femoral gland secretions of wild male tegu lizards, Salvator merianae (Squamata, Teiidae) in comparison with captive-bred males
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Although chemical interactions play an essential role in lizard social behavior, the chemical composition of the femoral gland secretions that many lizards use for communication is known for only a few species, mainly European Lacertids. The tegu lizard, Salvator merianae, is the only species of the Teiidae family for which there is available information on lipids in femoral secretions, but only for captive bred males from Argentina. Here, based on mass spectra obtained by GC-MS, we found 69 lipophilic compounds in femoral gland secretions of wild males S. merianae from Brazil, including cholesterol and high amounts of saturated fatty acids (mainly hexadecanoic and octadecanoic). We found contrasting differences between wild and captive-bred males, which lack cholesterol but present high amount of 9,12-octadecadienoic acid. These within-species differences between wild and captive lizards strongly suggest the important influence of different diets on the chemical composition of the femoral gland secretion and suggest caution when interpreting results from captive animals, even in the same species.
Ramiro CN., Martín J, Silva Junior PI, Pinto HB.A., Magalhães Júnior AJC., Abrahão C, et al. Chemical characterization of the lipids in femoral gland secretions of wild male tegu lizards, Salvator merianae (Squamata, Teiidae) in comparison with captive-bred males. Z. Naturforsch. C. 2020 jun;75(11-12):443-449. doi:10.1515/znc-2020-0005.
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