Differential responses of captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) to the presence of faeces from different species and male and female conspecifics

Descovich, Kristin A., Lisle, Allan T., Johnston, Stephen, Nicolson, Vere and Phillips, Clive J. C. (2012) Differential responses of captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) to the presence of faeces from different species and male and female conspecifics. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 138 1-2: 110-117. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2012.01.017


Author Descovich, Kristin A.
Lisle, Allan T.
Johnston, Stephen
Nicolson, Vere
Phillips, Clive J. C.
Title Differential responses of captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) to the presence of faeces from different species and male and female conspecifics
Formatted title
Differential responses of captive southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons) to the presence of faeces from different species and male and female conspecifics
Journal name Applied Animal Behaviour Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0168-1591
1872-9045
Publication date 2012-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2012.01.017
Volume 138
Issue 1-2
Start page 110
End page 117
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The southern hairy-nosed wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons) appears to use scent marking, including defaecation, for social communication in the wild. This premise assumes that the receiver wombat is able to distinguish between faeces from different sources. To examine this theory, four types of faeces (male wombat, female wombat, dingo and a plastic control) were placed into the enclosures of 12 captive wombats. Behaviour, inter-individual distance and enclosure use were recorded during the period of placement, as well as the period before and the period after. When faeces were present, the wombats used concealed locations more often than other periods (mean%: pre-treatment: 71.3, treatment: 75.6, post-treatment: 72.7; P < 0.05). During the same period they also reduced grazing (mean min/period: pre-treatment: 15.8, treatment: 6.9, post-treatment: 13.1; P = 0.0002) and walking activity (mean min/period: pre-treatment: 85.2, treatment: 66.9, post-treatment: 78.2; P = 0.01), indicating an increased perception of risk. Wombats approached the dingo faeces 5.6 times per treatment period, which was greater than for the control (3.0; P = 0.004) or female wombat faeces (3.7; P = 0.049). They also avoided other wombats most when male wombat faeces were present (8.3 retreats/period) compared to the control (4.5; P = 0.02), or female wombat (4.3; P = 0.01). There was a residual effect of increased wombat avoidance the period after presentation of dingo faeces (9.6; P ≤ 0.05). It is concluded that the southern hairy-nosed wombat can differentiate between faeces from different species and sex of conspecifics, and that predator faeces and those from male conspecifics increase wombat avoidance behaviour either during or after presentation.
Keyword Wombat
Olfactory
Faeces
Scent
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2013 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 07 Mar 2012, 15:40:57 EST by Annette Winter on behalf of School of Veterinary Science