Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Anal Gland Secretion of the Red Fox


LITTLE is known of the chemistry of odour in higher animals1–4 in relation to the importance which behavioural studies have ascribed to it5–7. Those chemical studies which have been undertaken have often lacked a concern for the behavioural and ecological implications of odour, although exceptions to this rule are becoming more numerous2,8,9. Here we describe preliminary chemical studies on the nature of the anal gland secretion of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes fulva, L.). An account of related behavioural studies will appear shortly10. Further chemical studies on the nature, variability and significance of the volatile components of the anal gland secretion of the red fox and of other Canidae are in progress. Microbiological studies are also planned11.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Comfort, A., Nature, 230, 432 (1971).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Michael, R. P., and Keverne, E. B., Nature, 218, 746 (1968).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Marler, P. R., and Hamilton, W. J., Mechanisms of Animal Behaviour (Wiley, London and New York, 1966).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Chemical Ecology (edit. by Sondheimer, E., and Simeone, J. B.) (Academic Press, London and New York, 1970).

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  5. Gleason, K. K., and Reynierse, J. H., Psychol. Bull., 71, 58 (1969).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Bruce, H. M., Brit. Med. Bull., 26, 10 (1970).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Bronson, F. H., Reproduction and Sexual Behaviour, chapter 21 (edit. by Diamond, M., et al.) (Indiana University Press, 1969).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Brownlee, R. G., Silverstein, R. M., Müller-Schwarze, D., and Singer, A. G., Nature, 221, 284 (1969).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Müller-Schwarze, D., Nature, 223, 525 (1969).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Fox, M. W., Albone, E. S., Levy, J., and Mitchell, C., in Social Behaviour and Ecology of Canines (edit. by Fox, M. W.) (Van Nostrand, Princeton, in the press).

  11. Hoyt, C. P., Osborne, G. O., and Mulcock, A. P., Nature, 230, 472 (1971).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Cornu, A., and Massott, R., Compilation of Mass Spectral Data (Heyden, New York, 1966) and Supplements.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Beutler, E., Duron, O., and Kelly, B. M., J. Lab. Clin. Med., 61, 882 (1963).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

ALBONE, E., Fox, M. Anal Gland Secretion of the Red Fox. Nature 233, 569–570 (1971).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing