SCENT GLAND AND ITS BEHAVIORAL FUNCTION IN SMALL MAMMALS– A REVIEW

Article Id: ARCC1351 | Page : 157-171
Citation :- SCENT GLAND AND ITS BEHAVIORAL FUNCTION IN SMALL MAMMALS– A REVIEW.Agricultural Reviews.2010.(31):157-171
Saroj Bakshi sarojbakshi@gmail.com
Address : Eco-toxicology Laboratory, Depertment of Zoology, Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur - 302004, India

Abstract

Various types of glands in small mammals were observed eg. lagmorphs (chingland, anal
gland, inguinal gland, hardenian, infraorbital, lacrymal gland), Columbian ground squirrels (scent
gland at mouth and in anal area), Flying phalanger (frontal gland near ears and eye), Deer and
Black tailed deer (interdigital gland, metatarsal, tarsal gland) and Cricetus, Neotoma, Peromyscus,
Meriones, Tatera, Rhombomys and Rattus all species having midventral glandular organ. The
gland in males are significantly larger (P0.001) than those of females. The speciesof larger
animals with larger size of gland in comparison to smaller size animals. Length, width and area of
the gland was found to be highly correlated with body weight (P<0.001). Histopathologically
these glands are composed of complexes of enlarged sebaceous alveoli holocrine types. Age and
gland size correlated (P0.01) in P. eremicus maes indicating older males had reduced glandular
area in relation to younger ones. Gland size correlated with body weight classes male M. hurrianae
had larger glands and larger area than females. The scent gland grows throughout the age of the
animals. Large number of chemical substances have been identified from mammalian exocrine
glands, act as pheromonal in function. First substance identified were musk produced by para
anal pouches and preputial glands of musk deer (Moschus moschiferus). A highly volatile
constituent of ventral gland secretion of Mangolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) is phenylacetic
acid. Scent marking plays an important role in marking the ground or object with urine and
gland secretion which is performed by both sexes. Function of scent marking in social hierarchy
to maintaining the dominant status of both sexes as dominants saturate the immediate
environment with their own odour. Dominant female gerbil significantly (P<0.01) enhances its
scent marking activity when in oestrus and males quickly perceive it and dominant female
advertises it’s ready to mate condition. The role of scent marking by dominant female in group
may serve as an innate mechanism of population regulation. Scent marking has a role in defending
territory, it does familiarise the animal in its own range of movement. Scent marks provide
homeliness to animals and probably also indicate home. The scent marking processes thus assists
homeostasis in temperature regulation with special reference to desert condition

Keywords

Dominance Homeliness Homeostasis Integumentary glands Moschus moschiferus Musk deer Oestrus Population regulation Sebum odour Social hierarchy.

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