[MARMAM] New paper on pectoral fin contact among dolphins

Kathleen Dudzinski kdudzinski at dolphincommunicationproject.org
Wed Jan 7 08:36:09 PST 2009

The following article has been published online.

A comparison of pectoral fin contact between two different wild dolphin
KM Dudzinski, JD Gregg, CA Ribicc, SA Kuczaj

Contact behaviour involving the pectoral fin has been documented in a number
of dolphin species, and various explanations about its function have been
offered. Pectoral fin contact can take a variety of forms, and involves a
number of body parts and movements, likely differing depending upon social
or ecological context. For this study, we compare the pectoral fin contact
behaviour of two species of wild dolphins: Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins
(Tursiops aduncus) from around Mikura Island, Japan, and Atlantic spotted
dolphins (Stenella frontalis) from The Bahamas. The two study populations
exhibit surprising similarity in the ways in which pectoral fin contacts are
used, despite differences in species and environmental conditions at the two
sites. Differences in contact rates for calves between the two sites suggest
that calf-focused aggression from adult dolphins is more prevalent at Mikura
than in The Bahamas. Our results suggest that pectoral fin contact behaviour
seems to be driven primarily by social pressures, and may be similar in
function to allogrooming described in primates.

A PDF file of our article is now available online through ScienceDirect at:
or by emailing me at kdudzinski at dolphincommunicationproject.org

This article can be cited in press as: Dudzinski, K.M., et al., A comparison
of pectoral fin contact between two different wild dolphin populations.
Behav. Process. (2008), doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2008.11.011

Kathleen M. Dudzinski, Ph.D.
Director, Dolphin Communication Project


email: kdudzinski at dolphincommunicationproject.org

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