The neglected scent: on the marking function of urine in Lemur catta

  title={The neglected scent: on the marking function of urine in Lemur catta},
  author={Elisabetta Palagi and Leonardo Dapporto and Silvana M Borgognini Tarli},
  journal={Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology},
In ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) urine deposition can be combined with two different tail configurations: (i) tail held up in an evident display (urinate tail-up, UT-up); (ii) tail slightly raised to avoid its impregnation with urine (urinate tail-down, UT-down). We used both signaller- and receiver-based approaches to search for functional differences between these two kinds of urine deposition. We predicted that UT-up might be a complex signal combining olfactory and visual cues. We… 

Multimodal signaling in wild Lemur catta: economic design and territorial function of urine marking.

It is suggested that UT-up in the nonmating period plays a role in territorial defense, which is mostly performed by females in L. catta society, and is an economical signal with a primarily territorial function.

Urine marking and urination in Lemur catta: a comparison of design features

It is demonstrated that both UM and UR have constant depositional features probably in order to improve the detectability of the urine marking and the animals' safety during urine excretion.

Adult play fighting and potential role of tail signals in ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta).

  • E. Palagi
  • Psychology
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 2009
Tail-play was most frequent in the dyads with low grooming rates (low familiarity degree) and during the most risky play sessions (polyadic ones), so tail-play can be considered as a useful tool for play communication in ringtailed lemurs.

RESEARCH ARTICLE The Vomeronasal Organ of Lemur catta

The VNO of L. catta is shown to be microanatomically comparable to that of nocturnal strepsirrhines, and numerous taste buds present at the oral opening to the nasopalatine duct provide an additional (or alternative) explanation for the flehmen behavior that has been observed in this species.

The vomeronasal organ of Lemur catta

The VNO of L. catta is shown to be microanatomically comparable to that of nocturnal strepsirrhines, and numerous taste buds present at the oral opening to the nasopalatine duct provide an additional (or alternative) explanation for the flehmen behavior that has been observed in this species.

Sexual Signalling in Propithecus verreauxi: Male “Chest Badge” and Female Mate Choice

It is reported that stained-chested males had a higher throat marking activity than clean-cheted males during the mating season, but not during the birth season, and it is found that females copulated more frequently with stained-Chested males than the clean- Chested males.

Night and day: the comparative study of strepsirrhine primates reveals socioecological and phylogenetic patterns in olfactory signals

It is suggested that urine marking is an ancestral behaviour related to solitary, nocturnal living and that parallel evolutionary shifts towards greater reliance on derived glandular marking occurred in a family (Lemuridae) characterized by diurnality and sociality.

Beyond odor discrimination: demonstrating individual recognition by scent in Lemur catta.

It is demonstrated that recognition of conspecific odors goes beyond the perception of cues other than individuality and that the receiver actually forms a mental representation of a specific individual by its scent.

Females do it better. Individual recognition experiments reveal sexual dimorphism in Lemur catta (Linnaeus 1758) olfactory motivation and territorial defence

The result of individual recognition bioassays of female odours may open interesting scenarios in the evaluation of the territorial defence investment across the different sex combinations.

Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Male Scent Marks in the Polygynous Greater Sac‐Winged Bat

Scent marking of male Saccopteryx bilineata might be congruent with the assessment-hypothesis, which states that scent marks offer intruders the possibility to make an olfactory assessment of the territory owner without direct physical interaction, but is most likely influenced by male-male competition and not by female choice.



Discrimination by male ring-tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta) between the scent marks of male and those of female conspecifics

This response suggests an olfactory-related preference by males for female scent under controlled conditions, a consequence of the females’ dominance over males and the brevity of estrus in L. catta, both of which would favor such choice behavior.

Sniffing Behavior in Lemur catta: Seasonality, Sex, and Rank

The continuous follow-up of the reproductive conditions of potential competitors suggests that sniffing genitals might play a role in female reproductive strategies.

Reproductive Strategies in Lemur catta: Balance Among Sending, Receiving, and Countermarking Scent Signals

Male indirect olfactory monitoring and countermarking on female signals peaked during the birth season, which suggests that male intrasexual competition is achieved both by getting female chemical messages and by concealing them from other males.

Scent-marking in ring-tailed lemurs: Responses to the introduction of “foreign” scent in the home range

In three sets of experiments, a group of captive Ring-tailed lemurs ranging at liberty were presented with sticks scent-marked with their own scent, or with scent from unrelated animals or unmarked sticks, and the role of scent-marking and the concept of group scent are discussed.

To whom it may concern: the transmission and function of chemical signals in Lemur catta

  • P. Kappeler
  • Psychology
    Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • 1998
Variation in the response of receivers across reproductive seasons as a function of senders' sex indicated that female scents may function in mate attraction and competition among females, whereas male scents might be primarily used in intrasexual competition.

The role of urine marking in the foraging behaviour of least chipmunks

Although the message conveyed by a mark is clearly exploited by conspecifics, and may benefit kin, the results accord best with prevailing theory advanced for canids, that an olfactory reminder of patch value improves the marker's foraging efficiency.

Scent-marking with the subcaudal gland by the European badger, Meles meles L.

Olfactory demarcation of territorial but not home range boundaries by Lemur catta.

Female genital marks and male arm marks, as well as the accompanying male shoulder rubs thus appear to demarcate territorial borders in Madagascar.

Reproductive behavior of free-ranging Lemur catta at Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar

Male mating strategies in ringtailed lemurs can be seen as adaptations to female mate choice during a highly restricted breeding season and the dominance hierarchy does not break down with regard to the order of mating.

Scent-marking behaviour of the honey badger, Mellivora capensis (Mustelidae), in the southern Kalahari

Latrine scent marking in adult male honey badgers provides support for the ‘scent-matching’ hypothesis andSquat marking occurred under a wide range of conditions in both males and females and may be related to marking valuable resources.