Journal Article A wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin adopts a socially and genetically distant neonate

Sakai, Mai  ,  Kita, Yuki F.  ,  Kogi, Kazunobu  ,  Shinohara, Masanori  ,  Morisaka, Tadamichi  ,  Shiina, Takashi  ,  Inoue-Murayama, Miho

62016-04-06 , Nature Publishing Group
Alloparental behaviour and adoption have been reported in many mammals and birds. Such behaviours are energetically costly, and their causes and functions remain unclear. We observed the adoption behaviour of a wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) near Mikura Island, Japan. A calf was seen with its mother on six observation days. Following the mothers death, the calf was observed with a sub-adult female on all 18 observation days from May to September 2012. On three days, the calf was observed swimming with this female in the suckling position and milk was seen leaking from the females mammary slit. A five-year dataset revealed no significant social or kin relationships between the biological mother and allomother, indicating that kinship and social relationships did not play an important role in the observed adoption.

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