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Individual Odor Similarities within Colonies and across Species of Cryptomys Mole Rats

Giora Heth, Josephine Todrank and Hynek Burda
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 83, No. 2 (May, 2002), pp. 569-575
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1383584
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Individual Odor Similarities within Colonies and across Species of Cryptomys Mole Rats
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Abstract

We studied similarities and differences in the qualities of individual odors across colonies and species of African eusocial mole rats using habituation techniques. Giant mole rats (Cryptomys mechowi) treated anogenital odors of 2 conspecifics from 1 colony as similar to each other and different from the odor of a conspecific from another colony, providing evidence for kinship odors. Subjects also discriminated between the subtle differences in the individual odors of familiar colony members. In another set of tests, mole rats from 3 species (C. mechowi, C. anselli, and C. kafuensis) treated anogenital odors of genetically closer heterospecifics as more similar to odors of conspecifics than to odors of less closely related heterospecifics. Thus, odor similarities paralleled genetic similarities as determined by the analysis of allozymic and karyotypic distances. The results demonstrate that similarities in individual odors covary with genetic similarities within colonies and across species. These similarities could provide a basis for different types of social recognition based on self-referent matching.

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