Scent-marking behaviour and social dynamics in a wild population of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx

Vogt, Kristina and Zimmermann, Fridolin and Kölliker, Mathias and Breitenmoser, Urs. (2014) Scent-marking behaviour and social dynamics in a wild population of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx. Behavioural processes, Vol. 106. pp. 98-106.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6289049

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Abstract Scent-marking is widespread among mammals and has been observed in many felid species. Although the behaviour is well-described, little is known about its function in wild felid populations. We investigated patterns of scent-marking and its role in intra- and intersexual communication among resident and non-resident Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx by observing interactions among wild lynx at natural marking sites by means of infrared camera traps. Marking activity of resident animals showed a peak during the mating season and was lowest during the time when females gave birth and lactated. Both sexes scent-marked, but male lynx visited marking sites much more often than females and marked relatively more often when visiting a site. Most visits to marking sites were by residents but we also observed scent-marking by non-residents. Juveniles were never observed marking. We found no evidence of lynx regularly renewing scent-marks after a certain ‘expiry date’ but the presence of a strange scent-mark triggered over-marking. Males responded similarly to the presence of another individual's scent-mark, irrespective of whether it was the top- or the underlying scent-mark in a mixture of scent-marks they encountered. Our results suggest that marking sites could serve as ‘chemical bulletin boards’, where male lynx advertise their presence and gain information on ownership relationships in a given area. Females placed their urine marks on top of the ones left by resident males, but further studies are needed to explain the functions of over-marking in females.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Verhaltensevolution (Kölliker)
UniBasel Contributors:Kölliker, Mathias
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:10 Oct 2014 09:19
Deposited On:10 Oct 2014 09:19

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