Vogt, Kristina. Olfactory communication and hunting behaviour of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx in the Northwestern Swiss Alps. 2015, PhD Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.
Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 November 2017.
Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_11558
In my first study (chapter 1), I investigated scent-marking behaviour and its role in communication among resident and non-resident Eurasian lynx using infrared camera traps. I could show that communal marking sites play an important role in communication between male and female lynx and in competition between males. I demonstrated that lynx were able to discriminate between self and non-self and that over-marking does not mask the underlying scent-mark. These results support the function of communal marking sites as “chemical bulletin boards”.
In chapter 2, we describe a robust method for identifying kill sites from movement patterns by analysing GPS location clusters (GLCs) generated by GPS-collared lynx. We were able to find large as well as small prey items and could show that the majority of the kills (92%) were found in GLCs lasting ≥ 9h. The method was then used in the next chapter to relate lynx scent-marking rates to hunting behaviour.
In my third study (chapter 3), I followed tracks of GPS-collared lynx in the snow and recorded scent-marks and evidence of hunting behaviour along these tracks. I was able to show that overall scent-marking rate was lower when lynx were hunting but that hunting lynx increased scent-marking rates in places, where there was a high chance of detection by conspecifics (along forest roads). Lynx also increased scent-marking rates during mating season but only when they were not hunting. My results suggest that lynx face a trade-off between enhancing the detection probability of scent-marks by conspecifics and avoiding eavesdropping by prey.
Finally, in my last study (chapter 4), I collected urine from captive and wild Eurasian lynx and analysed volatile constituents of urine by means of solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. I identified several carboxylic acids, aldehydes, ketones, and esters, as well as high amounts of cyclic octaatomic sulphur. I could show that lynx urine contains sex-specific information on reproductive state, as well as individual identity cues. Relative sulphur content in urine samples decreased with age of the urine sample and could serve as an indicator for the freshness of a scent-mark.
The patterns of scent-marking I observed during my studies suggest that urine marking plays an important role in communication between potential mates and rivals and, hence, in social and spatial organisation of Eurasian lynx populations. I was also able to chemically analyse the information content of lynx urine and show that urine marks are well-suited to fulfil the suggested functions in the wild. As such, my work contributes to a better understanding of the functions and constraints of chemical signalling in wide-ranging solitary predators.
|Advisors:||Salzburger, Walter and Kölliger, Mathias and Breitenmoser, Urs and Andrén, Henrik|
|Faculties and Departments:||05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Zoologisches Institut > Evolutionary Biology (Salzburger)|
|Bibsysno:||Link to catalogue|
|Number of Pages:||1 Online-Ressource (116 Seiten)|
|Last Modified:||30 Jun 2016 10:59|
|Deposited On:||08 Mar 2016 14:25|
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