PATTERNS OF FEMALE ATTRACTIVENESS IN INDIAN OCEAN BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS by RICHARD C. CONNOR1), ANDREW F. RICHARDS2), RACHEL A. SMOLKER3) and JANET MANN4) (1The Michigan Society of Fellows; 1,2,3Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; 4Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA) (Acc. 12-VI-1995) Summary Hormonal profiles of captive individuals show that bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) are seasonally polyoestrous, but little is known of reproductive behaviour among free-ranging bottlenose dolphins. In Shark Bay, Western Australia, we have documented for the first time patterns of female attractiveness that may correspond to multiple oestrous cycles. Male bottlenose dolphins in stable alliances of 2-3 individuals form temporary consortships with individual females. Consortships often are established and maintained by aggressive herd- ing. Consortships are associated with reproduction and are a useful measure of a female's attractiveness. Following reproduction, females may become attractive to males when their surviving calf is about 2-2.5 years old or within 1-2 weeks of losing an infant. Individual females are attractive to males for variable periods extending over a number of months, both within and outside of the main breeding season. The duration of attractive periods is greater during breeding season months than
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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