Journal Article A community split among dolphins: the effect of social relationships on the membership of new communities

Nishita, Miki  ,  Shirakihara, Miki  ,  Amano, Masao

5p.17266 , 2015-11-26 , Nature Publishing Group
Little is known about community splitting among dolphins because such events are rare in dolphin populations. A case of a community split was confirmed in a population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Japan, where a group of approximately 30 dolphins moved to a new habitat some 60 km from the original habitat. We examined the associations among the dolphins before the community split to determine whether the new community members were already socially different before the split, using 7-year identification data. Before the split, the males in the same community after the split more often associated with each other than they did with those in different community. In contrast, the association patterns among females and between sexes showed no relationships with their post-split community membership. These results indicate that the males of new community were socially different from the other males for a long time before the split, but the females might not have been different. Our findings suggest that at time of the community split, the factors determining the memberships of the subsequent communities are sex-linked. The long-term social relationships among males could be maintained in the subsequent communities.

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