[MARMAM] Pilot whale carrying a dead conspecific
Fabian Ritter, MEER e.V.
ritter at m-e-e-r.de
Mon Sep 30 05:39:16 PDT 2013
Dear fellow MARMAMers!
We would like to inform you about an interesting observation we made
last August off La Gomera (Canary Islands, Spain). During a short
encounter with short-finned pilot whales (Gl. macrorhynchus) we observed
an adult animal carrying what appeared to be a dead juvenile (judged
from the relative size of adult and the dead animal). A more detailed
description of this sighting and some images can be seen at the
While supporting behaviour has been observed many times in the past,
this type of behaviour mostly is directed towards dead cetacean calves,
rather than older conspecifics, the latter having been documented only
very rarely (some references are given below).
We hence would like to know if someone has made similar observations
before, either with pilot whales or other cetacean species.
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Best greetings to all of you,
_Some references on epimeletic/supporting behaviour in cetaceans:_
Caldwell, M.C. and D.K. Caldwell. 1966. Epimeletic (care-giving)
behavior in Cetacea. In: K.S. Norris (ed.): Whales, Dolphins and
Propoises. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Cockcroft, V.G. and W. Sauer. 1990. Observed and inferred epimeletic
(nurturant) behaviour in bottlenose dolphins. Aquatic Mammals 16.1, 31-32.
Harzen, S. and M.E. Dos Santos. 1992. Three encounters with wild
bottlenose dolphins (_Tursiops truncatus_) carrying dead calves. Aquatic
Mammals 18.2, 49-55.
Fertl, D. and A. Schiro. 1994. Carrying of dead calves by free-ranging
Texas bottlenose dolphins (_Tursiops truncatus_). Aquatic Mammals 20.1,
Lodi, L. 1992. Epimeletic behavior of free-ranging rough-toothed
dolphins, _Steno bredanensis_, from Brazil. Marine Mammal Science 8,
Ritter, F. 2007. BEHAVIORAL RESPONSES OF ROUGH-TOOTHED DOLPHINS TO A
DEAD NEWBORN CALF.**Marine Mammal Science, 23(2): 429-433
Fulgencio de Moura, da Silva Rodrigues and Salvatore Siciliano, 2008.
Epimeletic behaviour in rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis)
on the east coast of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. JMBA2 - Biodiversity
T/F: (0)30-644 97 230
e-Mail:ritter at m-e-e-r.de
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