Simple Summary The study aimed at chemically characterizing the marking fluid of both breeding and non-breeding male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Specifically, it focused on identifying potential differences in pheromones related to sexual behavior/attraction in this species. Furthermore, it aimed at providing more information as a basis for future studies, such as the investigation of specific semiochemicals in the reproductive behavior of cheetahs. The results of this study support the hypothesis of differences in the relative concentration of volatile organic chemicals between male cheetahs; however, they highlight the importance of diet and age on the presence of volatile organic chemicals in the marking fluid. Scent is known to play an important role in the reproduction of cheetahs and other felids. In fact, the presence/odor of a male cheetah has been noted to trigger the estrous cycle in females. The objective of this study was to analyze the marking fluid (MF) of male cheetahs from different breeding groups to determine the composition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present, with the aim of identifying potential pheromones relating to sexual behavior/attraction in this species. Four breeding (B; age: 8.9 +/- 1.3 years old) and four non-breeding (NB; age: 5.5 +/- 0.8 years old) males were selected for this study. Samples were collected into a glass beaker, transferred immediately into a 20 mL glass screw-cap vial with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coated silicone septum, and stored until analyzed by headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A contingency test with Fisher's exact test, using the frequency (FREQ) procedure of SAS 9.4, was conducted to determine the difference between the number of VOCs identified per breeding group; furthermore, differences in relative concentration (RC) of the identified VOCs between breeding groups were analyzed using ANOVA for repeated measures with the GLIMMIX procedure. From the 13 MF samples analyzed, 53 VOCs were identified, and 12 were identified in all the samples. Five of these (dimethyl disulfide, benzaldehyde, acetophenone, phenol, and indole) are known to be involved in attraction/sexual behavior in mammals. Between the two groups, the RC of indole was significantly higher in the NB group, whereas the RC of dodecanoic acid was significantly higher in the B group. Although not significant, the RC of benzaldehyde was higher in the B versus the NB group. The results of this study do support the hypothesis of differences in VOCs' between B and NB male cheetahs. However, the overlapping of age and breeding status and the diet differences could not be controlled. Still, the evidence of changes in MF composition in male cheetahs necessitates further studies on possible strategies to improve reproduction in captivity.

Chemical Characterization of the Marking Fluid of Breeding and Non-Breeding Male Cheetahs / Tommasi, Alexia; Tredoux, Andreas G J; Koziel, Jacek A; Esposito, Giulia. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 12:17(2022), p. 2284. [10.3390/ani12172284]

Chemical Characterization of the Marking Fluid of Breeding and Non-Breeding Male Cheetahs

Esposito, Giulia
Project Administration
2022

Abstract

Simple Summary The study aimed at chemically characterizing the marking fluid of both breeding and non-breeding male cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Specifically, it focused on identifying potential differences in pheromones related to sexual behavior/attraction in this species. Furthermore, it aimed at providing more information as a basis for future studies, such as the investigation of specific semiochemicals in the reproductive behavior of cheetahs. The results of this study support the hypothesis of differences in the relative concentration of volatile organic chemicals between male cheetahs; however, they highlight the importance of diet and age on the presence of volatile organic chemicals in the marking fluid. Scent is known to play an important role in the reproduction of cheetahs and other felids. In fact, the presence/odor of a male cheetah has been noted to trigger the estrous cycle in females. The objective of this study was to analyze the marking fluid (MF) of male cheetahs from different breeding groups to determine the composition of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present, with the aim of identifying potential pheromones relating to sexual behavior/attraction in this species. Four breeding (B; age: 8.9 +/- 1.3 years old) and four non-breeding (NB; age: 5.5 +/- 0.8 years old) males were selected for this study. Samples were collected into a glass beaker, transferred immediately into a 20 mL glass screw-cap vial with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coated silicone septum, and stored until analyzed by headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A contingency test with Fisher's exact test, using the frequency (FREQ) procedure of SAS 9.4, was conducted to determine the difference between the number of VOCs identified per breeding group; furthermore, differences in relative concentration (RC) of the identified VOCs between breeding groups were analyzed using ANOVA for repeated measures with the GLIMMIX procedure. From the 13 MF samples analyzed, 53 VOCs were identified, and 12 were identified in all the samples. Five of these (dimethyl disulfide, benzaldehyde, acetophenone, phenol, and indole) are known to be involved in attraction/sexual behavior in mammals. Between the two groups, the RC of indole was significantly higher in the NB group, whereas the RC of dodecanoic acid was significantly higher in the B group. Although not significant, the RC of benzaldehyde was higher in the B versus the NB group. The results of this study do support the hypothesis of differences in VOCs' between B and NB male cheetahs. However, the overlapping of age and breeding status and the diet differences could not be controlled. Still, the evidence of changes in MF composition in male cheetahs necessitates further studies on possible strategies to improve reproduction in captivity.
Chemical Characterization of the Marking Fluid of Breeding and Non-Breeding Male Cheetahs / Tommasi, Alexia; Tredoux, Andreas G J; Koziel, Jacek A; Esposito, Giulia. - In: ANIMALS. - ISSN 2076-2615. - 12:17(2022), p. 2284. [10.3390/ani12172284]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2933853
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