Streaming of secretion from the temporal glands of non-musth elephants. Temporin may be ephemeral or sustained and is more frequently observed among females. Many socially stimulating interactions within families are associated with the sudden onset of Temporin among adult females and, most often, their female offspring. These secretions may stream down the side of the face within seconds of the onset of the interaction. In these cases the onset of Temporin usually appears to be associated with vocalizing and typically dries within 10-15 minutes.

In East African populations, our observation is that sustained Temporin is more likely to be observed among females and when they are separated from their families or when individuals are disturbed. In these habitats Temporin is more frequently observed in the dry season, due, we believe to the fact that relatives are forced to split into smaller groups.

In Gorongosa, Mozambique, this pattern does not hold. Most elephants, no matter the age or sex, secrete from the temporal glands during both dry and wetter periods, and when they are in large and small groups. While the population is fearful and aggressive toward people, we do not believe that stress is the reason for the difference observed. Much more research is needed to understand the function of Temporin among elephants.

References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: ch 6; Moss 1981; Poole & Moss 1981; Moss 1988; Poole 1982: 61; Poole et al 1988; Poole 1996: 93, 137, 275; Payne 2003; Poole & Granli 2003; McComb et al. 2003; Poole & Granli 2011; [Streaming, Temporal-Gland-Secretion & (wrongly) Musth]. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Affiliative, Coalition Building, Conflict & Confrontation, Courtship, Social Play


Context: Conflict & Confrontation (1)

Note: Powerful elephant calls! Little E is one month old. As the clip starts he is seen being looked after by allomothers V-Notch and Lorato. He becomes curious about the filmmakers car and walks toward it. V-notch who is ahead becomes alarmed and turns back to protect him Ear-Spreading and briefly Trunk-Sucking. Little E rushes past them to the car. Bob says softly "Hey, Little E" as he (we believe) touches the car. The two aunties freak out and give a series of Trumpet-Blasts.

Little E is alarmed - caught between his noisy aunties and the car. He is too close to see what is happening, but we can see him Tail-Raising and see the feet of his allomothers moving back and forth. His mother, Mama Little E, rushes over to join the allomothers and manages to retrieve him. They all Shepherd him back to safety, Backing-Away while Standing-Tall and his mother uses her trunk to gently move him away.

We can see that they get Temporin. They rumble and Bunching around Little E with Mama Little E and V-Notch on either side and Lorato Sashaying in to fill in the gap between Little E and the vehicle. They continue to Back-Away and then when Little E tries to suckle his mother uses her trunk to purposefully lead his mouth to her breast (Trunk-to-Infant-at-Breast). Lorato Head-Shakes. Then they walk away past the car. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)