Behavioral Responses to Mammalian Blood Odor and aBlood Odor Component in Four Species of Large Carnivores
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 11, e112694- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Only little is known about whether single volatile compounds are as efficient in eliciting behavioral responses in animals asthe whole complex mixture of a behaviorally relevant odor. Recent studies analysing the composition of volatiles inmammalian blood, an important prey-associated odor stimulus for predators, found the odorant trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal to evoke a typical ‘‘metallic, blood-like’’ odor quality in humans. We therefore assessed the behavior of captiveAsian wild dogs (Cuon alpinus), African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), South American bush dogs (Speothos venaticus), andSiberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) when presented with wooden logs that were impregnated either with mammalianblood or with the blood odor component trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal, and compared it to their behavior towards a fruityodor (iso-pentyl acetate) and a near-odorless solvent (diethyl phthalate) as control. We found that all four species displayedsignificantly more interactions with the odorized wooden logs such as sniffing, licking, biting, pawing, and toying, whenthey were impregnated with the two prey-associated odors compared to the two non-prey-associated odors. Mostimportantly, no significant differences were found in the number of interactions with the wooden logs impregnated withmammalian blood and the blood odor component in any of the four species. Only one of the four species, the SouthAmerican bush dogs, displayed a significant decrease in the number of interactions with the odorized logs across the fivesessions performed per odor stimulus. Taken together, the results demonstrate that a single blood odor component can beas efficient in eliciting behavioral responses in large carnivores as the odor of real blood, suggesting that trans-4,5-epoxy-(E)-2-decenal may be perceived by predators as a ‘‘character impact compound’’ of mammalian blood odor. Further, the resultssuggest that odorized wooden logs are a suitable manner of environmental enrichment for captive carnivores.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science , 2014. Vol. 9, no 11, e112694- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111941DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112694ISI: 000344816700089PubMedID: 25383706OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-111941DiVA: diva2:762211