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In contrast to previous results from laboratory rats, when sexual dimorphism occurred, clitoral glands from wild female rats were heavier and accounted for a greater proportion of body mass than preputial glands from wild males. Gland length and weight increased with body weight, but gland weight as a proportion of body weight did not. Preputial and clitoral glands showed seasonal differences in size: at one site glands were smaller in December than in April. Maturity, estrus, and pregnancy had no significant effect on clitoral gland size, but immature males had proportionally smaller preputial glands than mature males, and the absolute gland weight, but not gland weight as a proportion of body weight, increased with testes weight. There were no differences between the sexes in lipid production, which increased with preputial or clitoral gland weight. An homologous series of aliphatic acids and their methyl and ethyl esters, plus squalene, cholesterol and lanosterol, was revealed by GC-MS study of the trimethyl silyl derivatized lipid extract. Males and females could be distinguished by principal component analysis of chromatogram peaks. © 1995 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Chemical Ecology

Publication Date





247 - 260