A Reverse-Engineering Approach to Identifying Which Compounds to Bioassay for Signalling Activity in the Scent Marks of African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)

Chapter

Abstract

Scent marks can potentially be used to manage the movement patterns of free-ranging mammals. We are investigating the possibility that using synthetic scent marks to create artificial range boundaries will help to keep African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) inside the safety of wildlife conservation areas. For this we need to produce synthetic scent marks, and so we need to identify which compounds among the hundreds in real scent marks are semiochemically active so that they can be formulated into the synthetic marks. Approaches that have previously been applied to locate and identify signalling compounds in mammal scent marks cannot be used on African wild dogs and so we are using “reverse-engineering” to locate and identify which compounds we should prioritise in bioassays for spatial semiochemical activity. For a compound, or a suite of compounds to be considered to be a good candidate for a spatial semiochemical role, it has to be species-specific, potentially airborne, persistent, and present in urine and not in faeces. We have used GC-MS to identify 102 components of African wild dog urine, faeces, and preputial tufts. Most of the major components are carboxylic acids and other compounds that are ubiquitous in mammal scents. Eighty-three of the identified components are poor candidates as single compound spatial semiochemicals because they also occur in other mammals that are sympatric with wild dogs. Four components from wild dog urine, pyridine, N,N-dimethylacetamide, propanamide, and ­1-methylimidazole-5-carboxaldehyde, meet the design criteria for spatial semiochemicals. These compounds are priority candidates for testing in artificial scent marks.

References

  1. Alberts AC (1992) Constraints on the design of chemical communication systems in terrestrial vertebrates. Am Nat 139:S62–S89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albone ES (1984) Mammalian semiochemistry. The investigation of chemical signals between mammals. Wiley, Chichester, p 5Google Scholar
  3. Apps PJ, Mmualefe L, McNutt JW (2012) Identification of volatiles from the secretions and excretions of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). J Chem Ecol 38: online DOI 10.1007/s10886-012-0206-7Google Scholar
  4. Bossert WH, Wilson EO (1963) The analysis of olfactory communication among animals. J Theor Biol 5:443–469PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell-Palmer R, Rosell F (2010) Conservation of the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber, an olfactory perspective. Mammal Rev 40:293–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Creel S, Creel NM (2002) The African wild dog: behaviour, ecology, conservation. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  7. Creel S, Mills MGL, McNutt JW (2004) African wild dogs. Demography and population dynamics of African wild dogs in three critical populations. In: Macdonald DW, Sillero-Zubiri C (eds) Biology and conservation of wild canids. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 337–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferkin MH, Pierce AA (2007) Perspectives on over-marking: is it good to be on top? J Ethol 25:107–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ferrero JDM, Lemon K, Fluegge D, Pashkovski SL, Korzan WL, Datta SR, Spehr M, Fendt M, Liberles SD (2011) Detection and avoidance of a carnivore odor by prey. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:11235–11240PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gosling LM, Roberts DSC (2001) Scent-marking by male mammals: cheat-proof signals to competitors and mates. Adv Stud Behav 30:169–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jackson C, McNutt JW, Apps PJ (2012) Managing the ranging behaviour of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) using translocated scent marks. Wildl Res 39:31–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lin DY, Zhang S-Z, Block E, Katz LC (2005) Encoding social signals in the mouse main olfactory bulb. Nature 434:470–477PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Linklater WL (2004) Wanted for conservation research: behavioural ecologists with a broader perspective. Bioscience 54:352–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McNutt JW, Mills MGL, McCreery K, Rasmussen G, Robbins R, Woodroffe R (2008) Lycaon pictus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded 6 Oct 2011
  15. Müller-Schwarze D, Houlihan PW (1991) Pheromonal activity of single castoreum constituents in beaver, Castor canadensis. J Chem Ecol 17:715–734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Novotny M, Jemiolo B, Harvey S, Wiesler D, Marchlewska-Koj A (1986) Adrenal-mediated endogenous metabolites inhibit puberty in female mice. Science 231:722–725PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Novotny M, Jemiolo B, Harvey S (1990) Chemistry of rodent pheromones: molecular insights into chemical signalling in mammals. In: Macdonald DW, Müller-Schwarze D, Natynczuk SE (eds) Chemical signals in vertebrates 5. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 1–22Google Scholar
  18. Oxford English Dictionary (2011) http://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/246393. Accessed 6 Jan 2012
  19. Parker MN (2010) Territoriality and scent marking behavior of African wild dogs in northern Botswana. PhD thesis, University of Montana, MissoulaGoogle Scholar
  20. Parsons MH, Blumstein DT (2010) Familiarity breeds contempt: kangaroos persistently avoid areas with experimentally deployed dingo scents. PLoS One 5(5):e10403. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010403 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rasmussen LEL, Lee TD, Zhang A, Roelofs WL, Daves GD Jr (1997) Purification, identification, concentration and bioactivity of (Z)-7-dodecen-1-yl acetate: sex pheromone of the female Asian elephant, Elephas maximus. Chem Senses 22:417–437PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Roberts SC, Gosling LM (2001) The economic consequences of advertising scent mark locations on territories. In: Marchlewska-Koj A, Lepri JJ, Müller-Schwarze D (eds) Chemical signals in vertebrates 9. Kluwer Academic, New York, pp 11–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schulte BA, Freeman EW, Goodwin TE, Hollister-Smith J, Rasmussen LEL (2007) Honest signalling through chemicals by elephants with applications for care and conservation. Appl Anim Behav Sci 102:344–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Van Heerden J (1981) The role of integumental glands in the social and mating behaviour of the hunting dog Lycaon pictus (Temminck, 1820). Onderstepoort J Vet Res 48:19–21PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Welsh RG, Müller-Schwarze D (1989) Experimental habitat scenting inhibits colonization by beaver, Castor canadensis. J Chem Ecol 15:887–893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Woodroffe R (2011) Ranging behaviour of African wild dog packs in a human-dominated landscape. J Zool 283:88–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Woodroffe R, McNutt JW, Mills MGL (2004) African wild dog Lycaon pictus. In: Sillero-Zubiri C, Hoffmann M, Macdonald DW (eds) Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals and dogs—2004 status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, pp 174–183Google Scholar
  28. Woodroffe R, Davies-Mostert H, Ginsberg J, Graf J, Leigh K, McCreery K, Mills G, Pole A, Rasmussen G, Robbins R, Somers M, Szykman M (2007) Rates and causes of mortality in endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus): lessons for management and monitoring. Oryx 41:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wyatt TD (2003) Pheromones and animal behaviour. Communication by smell and taste. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Apps
    • 1
  • Lesego Mmualefe
    • 1
  • J. Weldon McNutt
    • 1
  1. 1.Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Laboratory for Wildlife ChemistryBotswana Predator Conservation TrustMaunBotswana

Personalised recommendations