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2 November 2016 Ocelot latrines: communication centers for Neotropical Mammals
Travis W. King, Roberto Salom-Pérez, Lisa A. Shipley, Howard B. Quigley, Daniel H. Thornton
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Olfactory communication among mammals remains poorly studied yet may be key to understanding their ecology. This is particularly true for mammalian carnivores, which rely extensively on scent marking for communication. Previous research suggests that carnivore latrines play a large role in both intra- and interspecific communication. Despite the apparent complexity of mammal use of latrines, little work has examined behavior patterns of species that visit latrines. We used motion-triggered video cameras to study use and behavior of mammals at ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) latrines in Costa Rica. We documented temporal patterns of use by the focal species (ocelots), diversity of mammalian species using latrines, and behaviors that occurred at these sites. Ocelots showed peaks in visitation every 60–67 days and a shorter gap between intersexual versus intrasexual visits, supporting the idea that ocelot latrines are used to communicate information about reproductive status. Fourteen terrestrial mammal species visited the latrines, and these species engaged in a variety of behaviors, including mark investigation, scent marking, and acceptance of scent marks. The complexity and frequency of behaviors by nonfocal species suggest that latrines may play as important a role in communication for these other species as they do for ocelots.

© 2016 American Society of Mammalogists,
Travis W. King, Roberto Salom-Pérez, Lisa A. Shipley, Howard B. Quigley, and Daniel H. Thornton "Ocelot latrines: communication centers for Neotropical Mammals," Journal of Mammalogy 98(1), 106-113, (2 November 2016).
Received: 20 October 2015; Accepted: 5 October 2016; Published: 2 November 2016

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