Double Marking in Arctic Wolves, Canis lupus arctos: Influence of Order on Posture


  • Fred H. Harrington Department of Psychology, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3M 2J6



Arctic Wolves, Canis lupus arctos, scent-marking, double marking, pair bonding, mate guarding, urine-marking, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada


Double marking by Arctic Wolves (Canis lupus arctos) was recorded by Mech (2006) from a pack on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, during 16 summers between 1986 and 2005. Using his data on the frequency of occurrence for each of the four postures used by Wolves for urine marking (males – raised leg and stand urinations; females – flexed leg and squat urinations), the probabilities of occurrence for each of eight possible double mark sequences were determined and compared with observed frequencies. Females were somewhat but not significantly more likely to initiate double mark sequences. There was no evidence for any bias in the posture used to initiate a double mark sequence, but assertive postures by both males and females nearly always completed the sequence, occurring much more often than expected by chance.