P-Mail: The Information Highway of Nocturnal, but Not Diurnal or Cathemeral, Strepsirrhines.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Scent marking is a well-established, but highly variable, mode of communication among strepsirrhine primates. We begin by reviewing this literature, focusing on nocturnal species. Our understanding about the information content of scent signals and the factors driving species diversity remains incomplete, owing to difficulties in acquiring comparative chemical data. We therefore re-examine such a data set, representing the richness and relative abundance of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the urine of 12 species (from Galagidae, Lorisidae, Daubentoniidae, Cheirogaleidae, Indriidae, and Lemuridae), to explore differences between nocturnal, diurnal and cathemeral species. As predicted by the variable importance of urine marking across species, the urine of nocturnal strepsirrhines contained the most VOCs and putative semiochemicals, differed significantly in composition from that of diurnal and cathemeral species and showed the strongest species scent "signatures." Relevant to retracing the evolutionary trajectory of cathemeral strepsirrhines, nocturnal and diurnal species were most differentiated in their VOCs, with cathemeral species being intermediary, but more closely aligned with diurnal species. These data support cathemerality as an ancient expansion of diurnal animals into a nocturnal niche. Consideration of the traits and variables associated with olfactory communication offers a profitable new way for examining species diversity and patterns of evolutionary change.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Drea, CM; Goodwin, TE; delBarco-Trillo, J

Published Date

  • January 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 90 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 422 - 438

PubMed ID

  • 31416063

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1421-9980

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0015-5713

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1159/000495076


  • eng