The brain of the African wild dog. II. The olfactory system

Samson Chengetanai, Adhil Bhagwandin, Mads F. Bertelsen, Therese Hård, Patrick R. Hof, Muhammad A. Spocter, Paul R. Manger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Employing a range of neuroanatomical stains, we detail the organization of the main and accessory olfactory systems of the African wild dog. The organization of both these systems follows that typically observed in mammals, but variations of interest were noted. Within the main olfactory bulb, the size of the glomeruli, at approximately 350 μm in diameter, are on the larger end of the range observed across mammals. In addition, we estimate that approximately 3,500 glomeruli are present in each main olfactory bulb. This larger main olfactory bulb glomerular size and number of glomeruli indicates that enhanced peripheral processing of a broad range of odorants is occurring in the main olfactory bulb of the African wild dog. Within the accessory olfactory bulb, the glomeruli did not appear distinct, rather forming a homogenous syncytia-like arrangement as seen in the domestic dog. In addition, the laminar organization of the deeper layers of the accessory olfactory bulb was indistinct, perhaps as a consequence of the altered architecture of the glomeruli. This arrangement of glomeruli indicates that rather than parcellating the processing of semiochemicals peripherally, these odorants may be processed in a more nuanced and combinatorial manner in the periphery, allowing for more rapid and precise behavioral responses as required in the highly social group structure observed in the African wild dog. While having a similar organization to that of other mammals, the olfactory system of the African wild dog has certain features that appear to correlate to their environmental niche.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3285-3304
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • Carnivora
  • RRID: AB_10000321
  • RRID: AB_10000323
  • RRID: AB_10000340
  • RRID: AB_10000343
  • RRID: AB_11204707
  • RRID: AB_2079751
  • RRID: AB_2088494
  • RRID: AB_2187552
  • RRID: AB_509997
  • RRID: AB_91545
  • accessory olfactory bulb
  • olfaction
  • semiochemicals
  • sociality


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