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Chemical composition of Eurasian lynx urine conveys information on reproductive state, individual identity, and urine age

Chemical composition of Eurasian lynx urine conveys information on reproductive state, individual... In mammals, the chemical profiles of individuals are complex and variable mixtures, and animals perceive information based on variation in the overall quality of these mixtures. A variety of compounds potentially involved in chemical communication have been characterized in the urine of different felid species, but little is known about the information content of felid scent marks. In this study, we investigated whether chemical composition of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx urine was related to sex, reproductive state, and individual identity. We further analysed if elemental sulphur in lynx urine could serve as a dietary cue or as an indicator for the freshness of a scent mark. We collected urine from captive and wild Eurasian lynx, and analysed volatile constituents of urine by means of solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Our results show that lynx scent profiles contain sex-specific information on reproductive state, as well as individual identity cues. Urine marks are, therefore, well-suited to fulfil a role in reproductive behaviour and social organisation of wild lynx populations. Relative sulphur content was unrelated to time since last feeding, but decreased with age of the urine sample. The influence of diet and body condition on scent profiles should be further investigated by means of experimental studies, and may shed more light on the messages encoded in carnivore scent-marks. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Chemoecology Springer Journals

Chemical composition of Eurasian lynx urine conveys information on reproductive state, individual identity, and urine age

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References (51)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer International Publishing
Subject
Life Sciences; Ecology; Entomology; Nature Conservation
ISSN
0937-7409
eISSN
1423-0445
DOI
10.1007/s00049-016-0220-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In mammals, the chemical profiles of individuals are complex and variable mixtures, and animals perceive information based on variation in the overall quality of these mixtures. A variety of compounds potentially involved in chemical communication have been characterized in the urine of different felid species, but little is known about the information content of felid scent marks. In this study, we investigated whether chemical composition of Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx urine was related to sex, reproductive state, and individual identity. We further analysed if elemental sulphur in lynx urine could serve as a dietary cue or as an indicator for the freshness of a scent mark. We collected urine from captive and wild Eurasian lynx, and analysed volatile constituents of urine by means of solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Our results show that lynx scent profiles contain sex-specific information on reproductive state, as well as individual identity cues. Urine marks are, therefore, well-suited to fulfil a role in reproductive behaviour and social organisation of wild lynx populations. Relative sulphur content was unrelated to time since last feeding, but decreased with age of the urine sample. The influence of diet and body condition on scent profiles should be further investigated by means of experimental studies, and may shed more light on the messages encoded in carnivore scent-marks.

Journal

ChemoecologySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 14, 2016

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