The importance of crossroads in faecal marking behaviour of the wolves (Canis lupus)
- 505 Downloads
For wolves (Canis lupus) scats play an important function in territorial marking behaviour. Depositing scats at strategic sites such as crossroads and on conspicuous substrates probably increases their effectiveness as visual and olfactory marks. It is therefore likely that scats will be deposited, and will accumulate, at particular crossroads where the probability of being detected by other wolves is greatest. To check this hypothesis, a wolf population in NW Spain was studied for two consecutive years, from May 1998 to March 2000, and the spatial distribution of 311 scats detected along roads (both at and away from crossroads) was analysed. This study was conducted over an area of 12,000 ha in Montes do Invernadeiro Natural Park. The results confirm that wolves preferably deposit their scats at crossroads (60.1%) and on conspicuous substrates (72.1%). Significantly more scats were found at intersections with numerous, easily passable roads connecting distant territories. Thus, wolves preferably deposit their faeces at crossroads with high accessibility and driveability. The larger the surface area of the crossroads, the more scats were found. Crossroads are therefore highly strategic points that facilitate the detection of scats.
KeywordsCorrection Coefficient Canis Lupus Scent Mark Wolf Population Asphalt Road
We thank Xunta de Galicia for the use of the facilities during the field work, T. Pérez and B. Barrio for their collaboration, A. Gago for help in the field work, and R. Hermida and L. Lagos for their participation in some surveys. We thank A.M. Vieytes for reviewing the mathematical design of the work.
- Asa CS, Mech LD, Seal US (1985) The use of urine, faeces and anal secretions in scent-marking by a captive wolf (Canis lupus) pack. Anim Behav 33:1034–1036Google Scholar
- Fox MW, Cohen JA (1978) Canid communication. In: Sebeok TA (ed) How animals communicate. Indiana University Press, Indiana, USA, pp 728–748Google Scholar
- Kleiman DG (1966) Scent marking in the canidae. Symp Zool Soc Lond 18:167–177Google Scholar
- Macdonald DW (1980) Patterns of scent marking with urine and faeces amongst carnivore communities. Symp Zool Soc Lond 45:107–139Google Scholar
- Mech LD (1970) The wolf: ecology and behavior of an endangered species. Natural History Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Robinson IH, Delibes M (1988) The distribution of faeces by the Spanish lynx (Felis pardina). J Zool 216:577–582Google Scholar
- Rothman RJ, Mech LD (1979) Scent-marking in lone wolves and newly formed pairs. Anim Behav 27:750–760Google Scholar
- Vilà C, Urios V, Castroviejo J (1994) Use of faeces for marking in Iberian wolves (Canis lupus). Can J Zool 72:374–377Google Scholar
- Wayne RK, Vilà C (2003) Molecular genetic studies of wolves. In: Mech LD, Boitani L (eds) Wolves: behavior, ecology, and conservation. Chicago University Press, Chicago, USA, pp 218–238Google Scholar