Term of Award

Summer 2004

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Bruce A. Schulte

Committee Member 1

Alan Harvey

Committee Member 2

Stephen P. Vives

Abstract

Chemosignals play a vital role in the social and reproductive interactions of elephants. As with many social, sexually dimorphic mammals, elephants experience major developmental stages of nursing, weaning, pubescence and adulthood. Some stages occur at different ages for males and females. I observed the trunk tip, chemosensory behaviors of male and female African elephants in each of the four major developmental stages at Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa. Young female elephants showed the highest rates of chemosensory behavior among females; whereas, pubescent and adult males showed the highest rates among males. The sexes differed in the prevalence of chemosensory behaviors. I also performed bioassays of female urinary compounds with(2) captive elephants at Riddle's Elephant Sanctuary and wild elephants to isolate the estrous pheromone released by female African elephants. The five compounds used did not elicit high responses from conspecific males, but responses were similar by wild and captive elephants.

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