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Attractant or repellent?: Behavioral responses to mammalian blood odor and to a blood odor component in a mesopredator, the meerkat (Suricata suricatta)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Kolmården Wildlife Park, Kolmården, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5583-2697
2018 (English)In: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5153, E-ISSN 1662-5153, Vol. 12, article id 152Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is well-established that the odor of mammalian blood is attractive to top predators such as tigers and wolves and aversive to prey species such as mice and rats. Recent studies have shown that the mammalian blood odor component trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal (TED) elicits corresponding behavioral responses in these two groups of mammals. Here we assess whether a mesopredator, that is, a small-bodied carnivorous mammal that is both predator and prey, is attracted to or repelled by the odor of mammalian blood and TED. To this end, we assessed the behavior of a group of 15 captive meerkats (Suricata suricatta) when presented with wooden logs that were impregnated either with horse blood or with TED, and compared it to their behavior toward a fruity odor (iso-pentyl acetate) and a near-odorless solvent (diethyl phthalate). We found that the meerkats displayed significantly more interactions with the odorized wooden logs such as sniffing and pawing when these were impregnated with the two prey-associated odors compared to the two non-prey-associated odors. Most importantly, no significant difference was found in the number of interactions with the wooden logs impregnated with horse blood and TED, respectively. These results demonstrate that meerkats, despite being small-bodied mesopredators, are clearly attracted to the odor of mammalian blood. Further, the results suggest that a single blood odor component can be as efficient as the odor of real blood in eliciting behavioral responses in this herpestid mammal, similar to previous findings in feline and canine top predators.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Research Foundation , 2018. Vol. 12, article id 152
Keywords [en]
blood odor, epoxydecenal, behavior, mesopredator, meerkats, Suricata suricatta
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-149797DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00152ISI: 000439461300001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-149797DiVA, id: diva2:1234282
Available from: 2018-07-24 Created: 2018-07-24 Last updated: 2018-08-14Bibliographically approved

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Pettersson, HenrikAmundin, MatsLaska, Matthias

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