[MARMAM] Bottlenose dolphin interactions with a dead calf

bearzi at tiscali.it bearzi at tiscali.it
Thu Aug 16 07:29:53 PDT 2007



Dear list members

on the 3rd and 4th of July, 2007, a bottlenose dolphin was observed interacting with a dead newborn for several hours in the semi-closed 
waters of the Amvrakikos Gulf, Greece.

The observations were documented by 532 digital photos taken on the first day, and 138 photos taken on the second day. A selection of 48 
photos has been posted at http://www.tethys.org/projects/IDP/deadcalf2007/ and can be viewed by those who are interested in this kind of 
‘mourning’ behaviours. 

We are considering writing a note to report this event, and we would be interested in receiving information and comments from those of you 
who have had similar experiences, either with bottlenose dolphins or other marine mammals. 

We are aware of the following scientific articles published on the subject (*), but we would be grateful if you could help us make this 
literature list as comprehensive as possible.


Sincerely,

Joan Gonzalvo Villegas and Giovanni Bearzi

Tethys Research Institute
http://www.tethys.org

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Please report any comment, observation or literature to Joan Gonzalvo Villegas <j.gonzalvo at ub.edu>

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(*)_Preliminary list of scientific articles on dolphin interactions with dead or injured conspecifics


Cremer M.J., Hardt F.A.S., Tonello Jr. A.J. 2005. Evidence of epimeletic behavior involving a Pontoporia blainvillei calf (Cetacea, 
Pontoporiidae). Biotemas 19(2):83-86. 

Dudzinski K.M., Sakai M., Masaki K., Kogi K., Hishii T., Kurimoto M. 2003. Behavioural observations of bottlenose dolphins towards two 
dead conspecifics. Aquatic Mammals 29(1):108-116.  

Fertl D., Schiro A. 1994. Carrying of dead calves by free-ranging Texas bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Aquatic Mammals 20(1):53-
56. 

Lodi L. 1992. Epimeletic behavior of free-ranging rough-toothed dolphins, Steno bredanensis, from Brazil. Marine Mammal Science 8(3):284-
287.  

Mann J., Barnett H. 1999. Lethal tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvieri) attack on bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) calf: defense and reactions 
by the mother. Marine Mammal Science 15(2):568-575.

Palacios D.M., Day D. 1995. A Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) carrying a dead calf. Marine Mammal Science 11(4):593-594. 

Ritter F. 2007. Behavioural responses of rough-toothed dolphins to a dead newborn calf. Marine Mammal Science 23(2):429-433.

Warren-Smith A.B., Dunn W.L. 2006. Epimeletic behaviour toward a seriously injured juvenile bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) in Port 
Phillip, Victoria, Australia. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):357-362. 








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