[MARMAM] New publication on flipper rubbing reciprocity

Chisato Yamamoto chisato.yamamoto14 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 2 17:38:25 PST 2021

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-author and I are pleased to announce the following paper.

Yamamoto, C., Ishibashi, T. Flipper rubbing reciprocity and partner choice
in common bottlenose dolphins. J Ethol (2021).

The exchange of prosocial behaviors such as grooming may be affected by
several factors, including the social structure and social relationships of
the individuals. However, studies on the reciprocity of prosocial
affiliative behaviors in non-primate animals are limited. Flipper rubbing
is considered a prosocial affiliative behavior in dolphins. We investigated
the reciprocity of flipper rubbing and tested the following hypotheses in
common bottlenose dolphins: trade for tolerance, trade for a reduction in
renewed aggressions, the value of flipper rubbing partner, and reciprocity
over short and long time frames. There was no correlation between the
frequency of flipper rubbing and aggression. Age difference did not affect
reciprocal flipper rubbing. Flipper rubbing by former opponents did not
increase after aggression. Dolphins did not provide flipper rubbing
immediately after receiving flipper rubbing. The exchange of flipper
rubbing was more reciprocal over long time frames than over short time
frames. Dolphins preferentially rubbed the individuals who rubbed them the
most. Pairs who performed flipper rubbing more frequently partook in more
reciprocal flipper rubbing than pairs who performed flipper rubbing less
frequently. Results suggest that bottlenose dolphins maintain flipper
rubbing reciprocity over the long-term via partner choice based on an
emotional bookkeeping system.


Chisato Yamamoto
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