The Role of Urinary Proteins and Volatiles in Competitive Scent Marking Among Male House Mice

  • Rick E. Humphries
  • Duncan H. L. Robertson
  • Charlotte M. Nevison
  • Robert J. Beynon
  • Jane L. Hurst


Male house mice (Mus domesticus), like many other male mammals, advertise their competitive dominance and ability to defend territories by depositing numerous urinary scent marks throughout their territory (reviewed by Rails, 1971; Johnson, 1973; Gosling, 1982, 1990; Hurst, 1987). Male mice also increase their rate of marking near any competing scent marks from other males, a behaviour termed counter-marking (Hurst, 1990, 1993; Hurst and Rich, 1999). Because only those males successfully dominating their territory can ensure that their own marks are always the freshest and predominant in the area, other males can use the temporal and spatial deposition dynamics of male scent marks to assess territory ownership and competitive ability (see Hurst et al., this volume). Perhaps more importantly, female mice can also use these scent marks to assess the quality of potential mates, preferring dominant male territory owners that counter-mark scent mark challenges from competitors and which ensure that their own marks are always the freshest (Rich and Hurst, 1999).


Urinary Protein House Mouse Scent Mark Lower Molecular Weight Fraction Urine Pool 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick E. Humphries
    • 1
  • Duncan H. L. Robertson
    • 2
  • Charlotte M. Nevison
    • 1
  • Robert J. Beynon
    • 2
  • Jane L. Hurst
    • 1
  1. 1.Animal Behaviour Group Faculty of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of LiverpoolLeahurst, NestonUK
  2. 2.Protein Function Group, Faculty of Veterinary ScienceUniversity of Liverpool Leahurst, NestonUK

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