Responses to olfactory stimuli in spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta): II. Discrimination of conspecific scent

Journal Article (Academic article)

Scent marking in spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) includes the deposition of anal sac secretions, or “paste,” and presumably advertises territorial ownership. To test whether captive hyenas classify and discriminate individuals using odor cues in paste, the authors conducted behavioral discrimination bioassays and recorded hyena investigation of paste extracted from various conspecific donors. In Experiment 1, subjects directed most investigative behavior toward scents from unfamiliar hyenas and members of the opposite sex. In Experiment 2, male hyenas discriminated between concurrent presentations of paste from various unfamiliar females in similar reproductive state. Thus, pasted scent marks convey information about the sex, familiarity, and even identity of conspecifics. Aside from territory maintenance, scent marking may also communicate information about individual sexual status.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Drea, CM; Vignieri, SN; Kim, HS; Weldele, ML; Glickman, SE

Published Date

  • 2002

Published In

  • Journal of Comparative Psychology

Volume / Issue

  • 116 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 342 - 349

PubMed ID

  • 12539929

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037//0735-7036.116.4.342