A Case Of Nuturant Care : Adoption Of A Presumed Delphinus Calf By Bottlenose Dolphin

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SHORT COMMUNICATION A novel case of nuturant care: Adoption of a presumed Delphinus calf by bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in Far North waters, New Zealand. CH Petersa* and KA Stockina aCoastal-Marine Research Group, Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand Worldwide inter-specific behavioural interactions in the order Cetacea are diverse and often complex. Epimelatic care can be described as nurturant or Succorant in nature. Adoption can be classified as nuturant behaviour, however very few examples of nuturant adoption have been reported among wild cetaceans and even less between species. During routine dedicated transect surveys, an adult female bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was found in the presence of a young common dolphin calf that did not appear to be her own. This mother-calf-like relationship lasted 9 months until the mother was sighted on multiple occasions without the calf. This paper describes repeated behavioural observations of apparent inter-specific association, and discusses the “type” and potential function of this interaction. Key Words: adoption, epimeletic care, nurturant behaviour, succorant behaviour, allomaternal care, allomother, alloparental, inter-species, bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, common dolphin, Delphinus spp., Bay of Islands, New Zealand Introduction Inter-specific behavioural interactions in the order Cetacea are varied and often complex, including

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