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Isolation, Identification and Function of the Chief Component of the Male Tarsal Scent in Black-tailed Deer


THE tarsal organ of deer of the genus Odocoileus is located, medially on the ankle (Fig. 1) and consists of sebaceous and apocrine sudoriferous glands as well as greatly enlarged arrector pili smooth muscle bundles1, which effect the erection of a long tuft of bright, stiff hairs. The hairs in the centre of the tuft are covered with a lipid film carrying the scent. The glands and urine are the possible sources of the tarsal scent. Tarsal organs are found only in tele-metacarpal deer (Odocoileinae); that is, in the New World genera Odocoileus, Blastocerus and Mazama, and in the Holarctic genera Alces and Rangifer2.

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BROWNLEE, R., SILVERSTEIN, R., MÜLLER-SCHWARZE, D. et al. Isolation, Identification and Function of the Chief Component of the Male Tarsal Scent in Black-tailed Deer. Nature 221, 284–285 (1969).

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