oa African Zoology - The scent marking behaviour of the brown hyaena Hyaena brunnea

Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The deposition onto grass stalks of two distinct, strongsmelling substances produced in the anal scent pouch, is the most common form of scent marking in the brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea). It is called pasting. The behaviour associated with pasting is descriptionbed, as is the related functional anatomy of the scent pouch. The dispersion pattern of pastings within a group territory and the rate of marking in different parts of the territory were ascertained by direct observations on radio collared hyaenas. The data were analysed by the computer programs SYMAP and SYMVU which graphically display the data as a three dimensional map. Brown hyaenas leave most pastings in those areas in which they spend most time. This is in the central part of the territory. When they visit the boundaries, however, the frequency of pasting increases. GLC analyses of the pastings from two known individuals show distinct differences in the relative concentrations of the many compounds in the pastings of each. Behavioural observations show that the hyaenas are able to recognize different individuals' pastings. Pasting could function to inform group members of each other's movements as well as to inform outsiders that the territory is occupied.

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