The exocrine secretions from prominently developed prosomal scent glands in four species of the European laniatorean harvestman genus Holoscotolemon (Laniatores, Travunioidea, Cladonychiidae) were analyzed by gas chromatography - mass spectrometry. Two major alkaloidal compounds were detected: Nicotine accounted for more than 97% of the secretion in Holoscotolemon jaqueti and H. oreophilum, whereas the chemically related nicotinoid alkaloid anabaseine was the major compound in H. lessiniense. In addition, a series of minor nitrogen-containing components was found, namely 3-(1-methyl-2-piperidinyl)-pyridine and anabasine, in H. jaqueti and H. oreophilum, and anabasine together with 2,3"-bipyridyl in H. lessiniense. By contrast, extracts of adult H. unicolor did not show any components. In one juvenile specimen of H. unicolor, however, low amounts of alkyl pyrazines (dimethyl-isobutyl- and dimethyl-isopentylpyrazines) were detected. Nitrogen-containing components previously were found in Sclerobunus robustus (an American travunioid harvestman), so scent gland-derived alkaloids may be widespread or even common in the Travunioidea. Alkaloids have not been reported for other opilionid scent gland secretions outside the Travunioidea, and we hypothesize that they may be the phylogenetically ancestral allomones in the Laniatores, having been reduced and replaced by a phenol- and benzoquinone-rich chemistry in the more derived grassatorean taxa.
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Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
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