Scent Communication in the Rat

  • Stephan E. Natynczuk
  • David W. Macdonald


The use of scent in mammalian social behavior has been studied in a wide range of species (Brown and Macdonald, 1985), and there is a consensus amongst workers in semiochemistry that some of an animal’s social odors may reflect its hormonal profile (Aron, 1979; Milligan, 1980; Quay, 1982; Yahr and Commins, 1982; Albone, 1984; Krebs and Dawkins, 1984; Jemiolo et al., 1987). In this paper we will consider briefly the links between scent, biochemistry and certain aspects of evolutionary theory with regard to the Norway rat, Rattus norvegicus. For reasons of space, we will confine ourselves to a discussion of the males’ olfactory investigation of females.


Chemical Signal Sebaceous Gland Odor Source Scent Mark Body Odor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan E. Natynczuk
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David W. Macdonald
    • 3
  1. 1.Clifton ScientificClifton CollegeBristolUK
  2. 2.School of ChemistryUniv. of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Dept. of ZoologyWildlife Conservation Research UnitOxfordUK

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