ABOVE: A male ring-tailed lemur shows off his wrist glands, which secrete clear fluids that facilitate sexual communication.

In a spirited form of sexual communication, male lemurs are known to rub their wrist glands onto their long tails, which they then wave in the presence of females, releasing scents from the gland secretions into the air. The behavior is called “stink flirting,” according to a press release for a study published on April 16 in Current Biology, and is only exhibited in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). To date, the chemical composition of these clear fluids had never been investigated in detail, because “most studies of animal communication are done by ecologists,” says coauthor and olfactory expert Kazushige Touhara of Hokkaido University in Japan in the statement.

Touhara and colleagues collected secretions from male lemur wrist glands and identified aldehydes with “fruity and...

An antebrachial gland on a male lemur’s wrist releases putative lemur pheromones in order to attract females.
Satomi Ito, Kyoto University

M. Shirasu et al., “Key male glandular odorants attracting female ring-tailed lemurs,” Current Biology, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2020.03.037, 2020.

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