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Male aggression varies with consortship rate and habitat in a dolphin social network


Hamilton, Rebecca A; Borcuch, Teresa; Allen, Simon J; Cioffi, William R; Bucci, Vanni; Krützen, Michael; Connor, Richard C (2019). Male aggression varies with consortship rate and habitat in a dolphin social network. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73(10):141.

Abstract

Coalitions and alliances exemplify the core elements of conflict and cooperation in animal societies. Ecological influences on alliance formation are more readily attributed to within-species variation where phylogenetic signals are muted. Remarkably, male Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, exhibit systematic spatial variation in alliance behavior, not simply within a species or population, but within a single social network. Moving SE-NW along Peron Peninsula in Shark Bay, males ally more often in trios than pairs, consort females more often, and exhibit greater seasonal movements. Ecological models predict more male-male conflict in the north, but sufficient observations of aggression are lacking. However, dolphins often incur marks, in the form of tooth rakes, during conflicts. Here we report that the incidence of new tooth rake marks varies systematically in the predicted pattern, with greater marking in the north, where males form more trios and consort females at a higher rate. While our previous work demonstrated that alliance complexity has an ecological component, we can now infer that ecological variation impacts the level of alliance-related conflict in Shark Bay.

Abstract

Coalitions and alliances exemplify the core elements of conflict and cooperation in animal societies. Ecological influences on alliance formation are more readily attributed to within-species variation where phylogenetic signals are muted. Remarkably, male Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia, exhibit systematic spatial variation in alliance behavior, not simply within a species or population, but within a single social network. Moving SE-NW along Peron Peninsula in Shark Bay, males ally more often in trios than pairs, consort females more often, and exhibit greater seasonal movements. Ecological models predict more male-male conflict in the north, but sufficient observations of aggression are lacking. However, dolphins often incur marks, in the form of tooth rakes, during conflicts. Here we report that the incidence of new tooth rake marks varies systematically in the predicted pattern, with greater marking in the north, where males form more trios and consort females at a higher rate. While our previous work demonstrated that alliance complexity has an ecological component, we can now infer that ecological variation impacts the level of alliance-related conflict in Shark Bay.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Animal Science and Zoology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:13 Feb 2020 14:32
Last Modified:05 Mar 2020 16:29
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-019-2753-1

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