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Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 611–618 | Cite as

Responses to inter- and intraspecific scent marks in pine martens (Martes martes)

  • Michele de Monte
  • Jean-Jacques Roeder
Article

Abstract

In order to analyze intra and interspecific olfactory discrimination, behavioral responses (sniffing and marking) towards various odors were observed in pine martens (Manes martes). Two adult males and two adult females were tested for intraspecific discrimination of abdominal gland odors and urine. Both sexes sniffed and marked objects carrying their own scent less than unscented objects. There were no differences in sniffing or marking objects impregnated with odors from known and unknown conspecifics of the opposite sex or objects carrying the odor of an unknown male or female. A second experiment with two adult females gave no evidence for interspecific discrimination: no differences emerged when comparing reactions towards marks of pine martens, stone martens (a closely related species), or genets. The most obvious result of this study is the reduced response of pine martens towards their own mark. It is suggested that scent marking in martens may reflect “autocommunication,” the primary effect being to familiarize an animal with its environment.

Key words

Carnivores pine martens scent marking odor discrimination Martes martes 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele de Monte
    • 1
  • Jean-Jacques Roeder
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de PsychophysiologieURA/CNRS 1295 7 rue de l'UniversitéStrasbourgFrance

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