Analysis of the Secretions from the Flank Glands of 3 Shrew Species and their Possible Functions in a Social Context

  • Debora Cantoni
  • Laurent Rivier


Numerous studies have demonstrated that rodent social odours play an important role in many aspects of rodent social behavior, affecting mate selection, reproduction, parent-offspring interactions, and general social interactions (Brown, 1985). In contrast, social odours and the social organization of insectivores, especially shrews, have been poorly studied, probably because of the secret habits of these animals and the difficulty of maintaining them in captivity. Studies of both captive shrews (Crowcroft, 1955; Vogel, 1969; Baxter and Meester, 1980; 1982) and wild shrews (Croin Michielsen, 1966; Platt, 1976; Hawes, 1977; Genoud, 1978; 1981; Ricci and Vogel, 1984) suggest that species belonging to the genus Crocidura can be aggressive or tolerant towards any conspecific, whereas species belonging to the genus Sorex are generally only very aggressive. These same authors noticed the existence of some degree of home range overlap for species belonging to the genus Crocidura and strict territoriality for species belonging to the genus Sorex.


Home Range Breeding Season Mating System Scent Gland Shrew Species 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debora Cantoni
    • 1
  • Laurent Rivier
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut de Zoologie et d’écologie animaleUniversité de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.lnstitut de Médecine légaleUniversité de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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