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


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 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Clapperton, B.K., Minot, E.O., andCrump, D.R. 1988. An olfactory recognition system in the ferretMustela furo L. (Camivora: Mustelidae).Anim. Behav. 36:541–553.Google Scholar
  2. Crump, D.R. 1980. Anal gland secretion of the ferret (Mustela putorius forma furo).J. Chem. Ecol. 6:837–844.Google Scholar
  3. De Monte, M., andRoeder, J.J. 1990. Les modalités de communication chez la martre (Martes martes). Mammalia. 1, in press.Google Scholar
  4. Erlinge, S., Sandell, M., andBrinck, C. 1982. Scent-marking and its territorial significance in stoats,Mustela erminea.Anim. Behav. 30:811–818.Google Scholar
  5. Gorman, M.L. 1976. A mechanism for individual recognition by odour inHerpestes auropunctatus (Carnivora: Viverridae).Anim. behav. 24:141–145.Google Scholar
  6. Gorman, M.L., Jenkins, D., andHarper, R.J. 1978. The anal scent sacs of the otter (Lutra lutra).J. Zool., London 186:463–474.Google Scholar
  7. Gosling, L.M. 1982. A reassessment of the function of scent marking in territories.Z. Tierpsychol. 60:89–118.Google Scholar
  8. Kleiman, D. 1966. Scent marking in the Canidae.Symp. Zool. Soc. London 18:167–177.Google Scholar
  9. Kruuk, H., Gorman, M., andLeitch, A. 1984. Scent marking with the subcaudal gland by the European badger,Meles meles L.Anim. Behav. 32:899–907.Google Scholar
  10. MacDonald, D.W. 1985; The carnivores: Order Carnivora, pp. 619–722. in R.E. Brown and D.W. Macdonald (eds.). Social Odours in Mammals. Clarendon Press, Oxford, U.K.Google Scholar
  11. Powell, R.A. 1979. Mustelid spacing patterns: Variations on a theme byMustela.Z. Tierpsychol. 50:153–165.Google Scholar
  12. Pulliainen, E. 1981a. Winter habitat selection, home range and movements of the pine marten (Martes martes) in a Finnish Lapland forest, pp. 1068–1087,in J.A. Chapman and D. Pursley (eds.). Proceeding of the First Worldwide Furbearer Conference. Worldwide Furbearer Conference, Frostburg.Google Scholar
  13. Pulliainen, E. 1981b. Home range and scent marking in the pine marten (Martes manes L.) in forest Lapland in winter.Mem. Soc. Fauna Flora Fenn. 57:13–14.Google Scholar
  14. Pulliainen, E. 1982. Scent marking in the pine marten (Manes martes) in Finnish forest Lapland in winter.Z. Saeugetierkd. 47:91–99.Google Scholar
  15. Rasa, A.E. 1973. Marking behaviour and its social significance in the African dwarf mongoose,Helogale undulata rufula.Z. Tierpsychol. 32:293–318.Google Scholar
  16. Roeder, J.J. 1980. Marking behaviour and olfactory recognition in genets (Genetta genetta L., Carnivora, Viverridae).Behaviour 72:200–210.Google Scholar
  17. Roeder, J.J. 1985. Structures sociales et modalités de communication.Comportements 2:1–79.Google Scholar
  18. Thiessen, D. andRice, M. 1976. Mammalian scent gland marking and social behavior.Psychol. Bull. 83:505–539.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations