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Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani) has stable individual-level laterality of anogenital rubbing

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 School of Life Sciences, Institute of Eco-Chongming (IEC), East China Normal University, 500 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai, P.R. China
  • | 2 Yangtze Delta Estuarine Wetland Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, Ministry of Education & Shanghai Science and Technology Committee, 38 Dongwang Avenue, Shanghai, P.R. China
  • | 3 Shanghai Zoo, 2381 Hongqiao Road, Shanghai, P.R. China
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Abstract

Behavioural laterality was widely discovered in both vertebrates and invertebrates. However, reports of behavioural laterality in scent-marking are scarce and focused on limb preference during scent-marking. In this study, we observed another scent-marking behaviour, anogenital rubbing, which involved whole-body movement, in zoo-housed Chinese red pandas. We recorded the moving direction of the buttocks when initiating anogenital rubbing. Our results showed that three of our subjects were explicitly left-biased when initiating anogenital rubbing and the other one showed more left initiation although there was no statistical significance. Besides, the laterality was consistent across the whole observational period. This is the first report of laterality in anogenital rubbing, perhaps indicating hemispheric specialization for chemical communication in the Chinese red panda.

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