Ontogenic patterns of scent marking in red foxes, Vulpes vulpes (Carnivora: Canidae)

Soulsbury, Carl and Fawcett, John K. (2015) Ontogenic patterns of scent marking in red foxes, Vulpes vulpes (Carnivora: Canidae). Folia Zoologica, 64 (1). pp. 40-44. ISSN 0139-7893

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Abstract

Scent marking is widely recognised to have a crucial function in many species. Most research has focussed on adults and very little is known about scent marking patterns during juvenile development. Using video records of juvenile red fox Vulpes vulpes across 6 years, we tested whether scent marking rates varied with age or sex, or whether juveniles remaining on the natal territory (philopatry) marked more frequently than those that disappeared. Our data show that male juvenile red foxes scent marked more than females during early development, but rates rapidly declined as they aged. In contrast, females showed a significantly later and slower rate of decline. Within females, individuals that remained in the natal area had higher scent marking rates than those that disappeared, suggesting that scent marking has a role in social group affiliation within litters. These results demonstrate that scent marking plays an important role in juveniles, including their intra-litter social interactions.

Keywords:sociality, sibling rivalry, dominance hierarchy, urine, bmjgoldcheck, NotOAChecked
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:16655
Deposited On:06 Feb 2015 11:03

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