Patterns of Chemosensory Behavior in a Closed Population of Wild African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana)
Term of Award
Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Biology
Bruce A. Schulte
Committee Member 1
Alan W. Harvey
Committee Member 2
Lance D. McBrayer
Committee Member 3
Lance D. McBrayer
Chemosensory behaviors are used by many mammalian species to assess chemical signals in the environment. These chemical signals may contain important information about reproductive state, identity, status, or location of conspecifics. Elephants are a long-lived species and males reproduce at a much later age than females, which provides a protracted developmental period for males. This study examined chemosensory behaviors in a population of African elephants living in Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa and demonstrated that patterns emerge as elephants develop and approach sexual maturity. Older pubescent males (15-19 year olds) performed more chemosensory behaviors than younger pubescent males (10-14 year olds) and both groups of pubescent females, which supported the hypothesis that there would be an increase of these behaviors as males approach sexual maturity and the age of their first musth. It is clear that developing pubescent male elephants are paying attention to chemical signals in their environment, many of which are directly related to female reproductive condition. Increased chemosensory behavior by pubescent males observed in this study highlights the importance of chemical communication in elephants.
Blogg, Russell W., "Patterns of Chemosensory Behavior in a Closed Population of Wild African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana)" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 15.
Research Data and Supplementary Material