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

Vogt, Kristina; Zimmermann, Fridolin; Kölliker, Mathias; Breitenmoser, Urs (2014). Scent-marking behaviour and social dynamics in a wild population of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx. Behavioural processes, 106, pp. 98-106. Elsevier 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.04.017

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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.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Breitenmoser, Urs

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0376-6357

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lucia Gugger-Raaflaub

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2015 11:46

Last Modified:

12 Oct 2015 15:29

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.beproc.2014.04.017

PubMed ID:

24814909

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Camera trapping, Chemical communication, Competition, Lynx lynx, Over-marking, Scent-marking

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.65485

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/65485

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