Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dolphins and Whales Play Together in Hawaiian Waters

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Bottlenose Dolphin and Humpback Whale


Whales Give Dolphins a Lift

Many species interact in the wild, most often as predator and prey. But recent encounters between humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins reveal a playful side to interspecies interaction.

In two different locations in Hawaii, scientists watched as dolphins "rode" the heads of whales: the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the dolphins slid back down. The two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress.

Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species. The latest Bio Bulletin from the Museum's Science Bulletins program presents the first recorded examples of this type of behavior.




Two Unusual Interactions Between a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and a Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Hawaiian Waters Abstract: When two species share a common habitat, interspecific interactions can take many forms. Understanding the dynamics of these interactions can provide insight into the behavior and ecology of those species involved. Two separate, unusual interactions are described in which a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) lifted a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) completely out of the water. Both incidents occurred in Hawaiian waters. Based on reports of object play by hump-back whales, and the apparent initiation and cooperation of each dolphin being lifted, object (i.e., the dolphin) play by the whale and social play by the dolphin seem to be the most plausible explanations for the interaction. Aggressive and epimeletic behavior by the humpback were also considered.


Bottlenose Dolphin and Humpback Whale




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