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Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 344–348

First Online: 22 January 2012Received: 03 August 2011Accepted: 23 September 2011


For solitary species that aggregate to breed, signals, such as sound or odor, transmitted across the landscape can play an important role in mate choice and coordinating breeding activity. Recent work on vocalizations of the giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca, bleats and chirps that are emitted during periods of reproductive activity, has revealed that auditory communication in this species is more complicated and developed than once believed. However, playback experiments using these calls have recorded only a few behaviors over short observation times and the influence of these calls on the signaling behavior of receivers remains unknown. Here, we present results from a pilot study in which we played the bleats of male and female giant pandas in estrus to captive animals and measured vocal and chemical signaling response behavior. We found an increase in scent marking behavior, but not vocalizations, in males and females following the playback of calls made by members of the opposite sex in estrus. To our knowledge, this is the first study to detect a chemical communication response, which was marking, to an auditory signal in giant pandas. Our findings reveal a previously unknown relationship between acoustic and chemical signals in this high profile species and suggest that these two forms of signaling may be interdependent in the social lives of giant pandas.

KeywordsAiluropoda melanoleuca auditory communication chemical communication multiple modality giant panda This article is published with open access at

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Autor: Meng Xu - ZhiPeng Wang - DingZhen Liu - RongPing Wei - GuiQuan Zhang - HeMin Zhang - XiaoPing Zhou - DeSheng Li


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