US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Behaviour, LXVIII, 3-4, 1979.


U.S. government work.


The wolf (Canis lupus) is a wide-ranging social carnivore with a complex spatial organization (MECH, 1972; 1973). The precise manner in which this organization is maintained is unknown, but territory advertisement using olfactory and acoustic modes seems to be involved.

The acoustic mode includes primarily howling. Within a wolf pack, howling may be useful to reassemble separated members (MECH, 1966; THEBERGE & FALLS, 1967), and may communicate information on individual identity, location, and other behavioral and environmental contingencies (THEBERGE & FALLS, 1967). Between packs, however, howling may serve to advertise territory, communicating the locations of packs and thus minimizing contact between them (JOSLIN, 1967).

The objective of the present study was to determine the possible role of howling in territorial maintenance by investigating the responses of wolves in northeastern Minnesota to simulated wolf howling.