Panda preferences influence trees used for scent marking

Aug 27, 2012

As solitary animals, giant pandas have developed a number of ways to communicate those times when they are ready to come into close contact. One means of this communication occurs through scent marking. A recent study by San Diego Zoo Global researchers, collaborating with researchers at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, indicates that pandas make clear and specific choices about what trees are used for scent marking.

"Variables affecting the selection of scent-marking sites included bark roughnesss, presence of moss on the tree trunk, tree diameter and distance to the trail," said Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D., co-head of Global's Conservation Unit. "These choices have clear effects on the scent signal, making it last longer, be detected from further away, or otherwise enhance its communication efficiency. We are not surprised that pandas are efficient with their use of chemo-signals, as mounting evidence suggests that many aspects of giant panda life history are constrained by their energetically poor diet."

This study, which was recently published in Animal Behavior, confirms that old-growth forest and other factors like tree type are important for maintaining habitat that will support giant panda conservation.

Explore further: Research shows impact of BMR on brain size in fish

Related Stories

Old-growth forests are what giant pandas need

Jan 11, 2011

The results of a study recently published in the journal Biology Letters indicate that giant pandas need old-growth forests as much as bamboo forests. This work, which was completed through the collaborative efforts of sci ...

US zoo receives $4.5 mn panda donation

Dec 19, 2011

The National Zoo in Washington announced Monday it had received a $4.5 million donation from a rich US benefactor which will fund a five-year study into preservation of the giant panda.

U.S. and China study giant pandas

Nov 27, 2005

A team of Chinese and U.S. zoologists Sunday began a joint study of wild giant pandas in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Pandas mate with help at the National Zoo

Mar 24, 2008

U.S. veterinarians have artificially inseminated Mei Xiang, a female giant panda at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, after natural mating was unsuccessful.

Recommended for you

Research shows impact of BMR on brain size in fish

Apr 24, 2015

A commonly used term to describe nutritional needs and energy expenditure in humans – basal metabolic rate – could also be used to give insight into brain size of ocean fish, according to new research by Dr Teresa Iglesias ...

Why do animals fight members of other species?

Apr 23, 2015

Why do animals fight with members of other species? A nine-year study by UCLA biologists says the reason often has to do with "obtaining priority access to females" in the area.

Dolphins use extra energy to communicate in noisy waters

Apr 23, 2015

Dolphins that raise their voices to be heard in noisy environments expend extra energy in doing so, according to new research that for the first time measures the biological costs to marine mammals of trying ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.