[MARMAM] New publication on dolphin-octopus interactions

Dara Orbach dnorbach at gmail.com
Sun Aug 31 18:50:42 PDT 2014

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of our paper:

Orbach, DN and Kirchner, T. 2014. Armed Escorts: Dusky Dolphin (*Lagenorhynchus
obscurus*) Interactions with Octopuses (*Pinnoctopus cordiformis*) in New
Zealand. Aquatic Mammals 40(3):285-292. DOI 10.1578/AM.40.3.2014.285


Between October 2011 and December 2013, three interactions between dusky
dolphins (*Lagenorhynchus obscurus*) and common New Zealand octopuses
cordiformis*) were witnessed and photographed off Kaikoura, New Zealand. In
two interactions, an octopus was attached to a dusky dolphin; and in a
third interaction, dusky dolphins appeared to be playing with an octopus.
The attachment might have been an escape tactic for the octopuses. This is
the first published record of interactions between dusky dolphins and
octopuses in New Zealand. The few anecdotal reports of octopuses attached
to dolphins are limited to species that commonly prey on octopuses. The
evidence for dusky dolphins foraging on octopuses off Kaikoura is weak. The
two species have different habitats but could come into initial contact
through shallow nearshore dives performed by the dusky dolphins or by other
species observed in the area, including New Zealand fur seals (*Arctocephalus
forsteri*), humpback whales (*Megaptera novaeangliae*), or fishermen
retrieving craypots. When the dusky dolphins encountered this unusual
object in their environment, they may have initiated exploratory or playful
behavior, which changed to distressed or defensive behavior upon the
attachment of the octopuses. The erratic behaviors of the dolphins,
including tail thrashes, rolling over, and rapid changes in swimming speed
and direction, indicate they were disturbed by the presence of the affixed
octopus. The dolphins did not perform acrobatic leaps, which are predicted
to remove or reposition large “hitchhikers.”

A PDF of the paper may be requested by contacting: dnorbach at gmail.com

Dara Orbach

Ph.D. candidate
Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology Group
Department of Marine Biology- IDP
Texas A&M University at Galveston
dnorbach at gmail.com
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