Seasonal Anointment with Millipedes in a Wild Primate: A Chemical Defense Against Insects?

@article{Valderrama2004SeasonalAW,
  title={Seasonal Anointment with Millipedes in a Wild Primate: A Chemical Defense Against Insects?},
  author={Ximena Valderrama and John G. Robinson and Athula B. Attygalle and Thomas Eisner},
  journal={Journal of Chemical Ecology},
  year={2004},
  volume={26},
  pages={2781-2790}
}
Members of a wild group of wedge-capped capuchin monkeys (Cebus olivaceus) intentionally anoint themselves with millipedes (Orthoporus dorsovittatus). Chemical analysis revealed these millipedes secrete two benzoquinones, compounds known to be potently repellent to insects. We argue that the secretion that rubs off on the monkeys in the course of anointment provides protection against insects, particularly mosquitoes (and the bot flies they transmit) during the rainy season. Millipede secretion… 

Benzoquinones from millipedes deter mosquitoes and elicit self-anointing in capuchin monkeys (Cebus spp.)

Female yellow fever mosquitoes were presented with two millipede secretory compounds and exhibited fewer landings, fed less frequently, and flew more frequently (a possible indication of repellency) in the presence of membranes treated with benzoquinones than with controls.

Anting in a Semifree-ranging Group of Cebus apella

It is argued that anting behavior in tufted capuchins fits the hypothesis of protection against ectoparasites.

Wild Blonde Capuchins (Sapajus flavius) Perform Anointing Behaviour Using Toxic Secretions of a Millipede (Spirobolida: Rhinocricidae).

The social nature of the behavior and time of the observations (mosquito season), suggest that social bonding and mosquito avoidance is linked to the anointing behavior of the monkeys.

Anointing with commercial insect repellent by free-ranging Cebus capucinus in Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos, Costa Rica

Fur rubbing or anointing is a well known behavior in capuchin monkeys (Cebus and Sapajus), and may have medicinal and/or social functions. Observations of anointing in capuchins have recorded the

Prey-rolling behavior of coatis (Nasua spp.) is elicited by benzoquinones from millipedes

Coatis (Nasua spp.), gregarious, omnivorous carnivores that range in forests from the southwestern USA to south America, dispatch millipedes by rolling them on the ground using rapid, alternating

Distribution of the Chuuk Islands Giant Millipede, Acladocricus setigerus (Spirobolida: Rhinocricidae), and Identification of Its Defensive Compounds

The spirobolidan millipede Acladocricus setigerus (Silvestri, 1897) grows to at least 155 mm long and is so far known only from Chuuk Islands, Micronesia; the major compounds, identified here for the first time, are benzoquinones.

Potential self-medication by brown titi monkeys, Plecturocebus brunneus, in an urban fragment forest in the Brazilian Amazon

The presence of dogs, cats and human settlements may contribute to an increase of ectoparasites, making a potential self-medication function of fur rubbing in this primate species plausible.

ANOINTING CHEMICALS AND ECTOPARASITES: EFFECTS OF BENZOQUINONES FROM MILLIPEDES ON THE LONE STAR TICK, Amblyomma americanum

It is indicated that benzoquinones appropriated via anointing may reduce the tick loads of free-ranging animals, although key questions remain on the amounts of these compounds available to and effectively appropriated by anointed animals.

Chemical odorant of colonial seabird repels mosquitoes.

This report is the first empirical evidence for an endogenous mosquito repellent in birds and shows that constituents of the aldehyde odorant are broad spectrum in efficacy against ectoparasitic arthropods of birds.
...

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