[MARMAM] New publication on sponge carrying in humpback dolphins

Simon Allen simon.allen at uwa.edu.au
Sun Oct 29 04:37:58 PDT 2017

Dear MARMAMers,

My co-authors and I are pleased to pass on the details of our recent publication: Allen SJ, King SL, Krützen M & Brown AM 2017. Multi-modal sexual displays in Australian humpback dolphins. Scientific Reports 7: 13644. DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-13898-9.

The article can be accessed freely here: http://rdcu.be/w3tL

The abstract reads as follows:

Sexual displays enriched by object carrying serve to increase individual male fitness, yet are uncommon phenomena in the animal kingdom. While they have been documented in a variety of taxa, primarily birds, they are rare outside non-human mammals. Here, we document marine sponge presenting

associated with visual and acoustic posturing found in several, geographically widespread populations of Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa sahulensis) over ten years of observation. Only adult males presented marine sponges, typically doing so in the presence of sexually mature females, although social groups predominantly consisted of mixed age and sex classes. Male humpback dolphins appear to be using sponges for signalling purposes in multi-modal sexual displays. Further, based on limited behavioural and genetic data, we hypothesise that pairs of adult male Sousa form at least temporary coalitions or alliances. The use of objects in sexual displays by non-human mammals is rare and, moreover, cooperation between males in the pursuit of an indivisible resource is an evolutionary hurdle relatively few species have overcome. These findings suggest a hitherto unrecognised level of social complexity in humpback dolphins.

There was some nice coverage in Nat Geo too, FYI: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/10/dolphins-sex-mating-sponges-courtship/

Drop me a line if you have any trouble accessing the paper and, for those who attended SMM2017, safe travels home.

Best regards, Simon

Simon Allen, PhD
School of Biological Sciences | Oceans Institute
University of Western Australia
Crawley WA 6009

Mob: (61-0) 416 083 653
Email: simon.allen at uwa.edu.au<file://localhost/applewebdata/::006C211F-965E-4B11-879F-544A520C4A7B:s.allen@murdoch.edu.au>
Web1: http://www.sharkbaydolphins.org<http://www.sharkbaydolphins.org/>
Web2: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simon_Allen2


Recent papers:
Abundance and fidelity of dolphins to an offshore trawl fishery (2017): http://rdcu.be/t5Y2<http://em.rdcu.be/wf/click?upn=KP7O1RED-2BlD0F9LDqGVeSP5tQHNT2k-2BDz-2FiwQvChBAw-3D_AIMRe0EZFYpFUxp-2Fpzz7EkJEG96KPe7gxdq6HONtBoNWY-2F46ZM92LpPR4jlDWbwxAEbaGJIGiOPheJJ2pXFnMAtqZAage1rd-2Fc4Vjtg8HPfQjTipHAThqbH8Wtgo0MJ4uoGd-2Fb2AlvN-2BBLahzFj5BE9TIaiO59k7nz-2FWRNEWrjOXMOTJZszzoejcxcBH64spZICqdHmVj04VuyPpvZii4LMt96AAHBZVzZxvPfeGxSk-3D>
Alliance behaviour and mating access in an open social network of bottlenose dolphins (2017): http://www.nature.com/articles/srep46354
Bycatch and population structure of bottlenose dolphins (2016): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.13622/full
Demographics of the North West Cape humpback dolphin population (2017): http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v32/p71-88
Shark bites on inshore dolphins in the tropical Kimberley region (2017): http://rdcu.be/vavT

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