Patterns of association among female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in a population forming large groups

in Behaviour
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) around Amakusa-Shimoshima, Japan form large groups of >100 individuals, a remarkable feature of this population, which is much larger than previously studied bottlenose dolphins. Using photo-identification data collected on 33 days in 2012, associations among 70 females were investigated using two scales of association measure (photograph- and group-based association) to know whether they associate based on their reproductive status, as is typically observed in other populations with smaller group size. Significant differences in associations between females of the same reproductive status category and those in different categories were detected, and a female that lost her calf within a year decreased associations with females with calves of the same age. These suggests that even in a population with large group size, the reproductive status of females is one of the factors influencing their associations.



AureliF.SchaffnerC.M.BoeschC.BearderS.K.CallJ.ChapmanC.A.ConnorR.FioreA.D.DunbarR.I.M.HenziS.P.HolekampK.KorstjensA.H.LaytonR.LeeP.LehmannJ.MansonJ.H.Ramos FernandezG.StrierK.B.van SchaikC.P. (2008). Fission-fusion dynamics: new research frameworks. — Curr. Anthropol. 49: 627-654.

BarrosN.WellsR. (1998). Prey and feeding patterns of resident bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Sarasota bay, Florida. — J. Mammal. 79: 1045-1059.

BarthelemyM.BarratA.Pastor-SatorrasR.VespignaniA. (2005). Characterization and modeling of weighted networks. — Phys. A. 346: 34-43.

CairnsS.J.SchwagerS.J. (1987). A comparison of association indices. — Anim. Behav. 35: 1454-1469.

ConnorR.C.WellsR.MannJ.ReadA.J. (2000). The bottlenose dolphin: social relationships in a fission-fusion society. — In: Cetacean societies: field studies of dolphins and whales ( MannJ.ConnorR.C.TyackP.L.WhiteheadH., eds). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, p.  91-126.

DuffieldD.WellsR. (1991). The combined application of chromosome, protein and molecular data for the investigation of social unit structure and dynamics in Tursiops truncatus. — Rep. Intl. Whal. Commiss. (special issue) 13: 155-169.

ElliserC.R.HerzingD.L. (2012). Community structure and cluster definition of Atlantic spotted dolphins, Stenella frontalis, in the Bahamas. — Mar. Mamm. Sci. 28: 486-502.

GoddeS.HumbertL.CôtéS.D.RéaleD.WhiteheadH. (2013). Correcting for the impact of gregariousness in social network analyses. — Anim. Behav. 85: 553-558.

GowansS.WürsigB.KarczmarskiL. (2008). The social structure and strategies of delphinids: predictions based on an ecological framework. — Adv. Mar. Biol. 53: 195-294.

HerzingD.L.BrunnickB.J. (1997). Coefficients of association of reproductively active female Atlantic spotted dolphins, Stenella frontalis. — Aquat. Mamm. 23: 155162.

HolmeP.Min ParkS.KimB.J.EdlingC.R. (2007). Korean university life in a network perspective: dynamics of a large affiliation network. — Phys. A. 373: 821-830.

InoueK.TerashimaY.ShirakiharaM.ShirakiharaK. (2017). Habitat use by Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Amakusa, Japan. — Aquat. Mamm. 43: 127-138.

KasuyaT.MiyazakiN.DawbinW.H. (1974). Growth and reproduction of Stenella attenuata in the Pacific coast of Japan. — Sci. Rep. Whales. Res. Inst. 26: 157-226.

KrauseJ.RuxtonG.D. (2002). Living in groups. — Oxford University Press, New York.

LouisM.GallyF.BarbraudC.BéesauJ.TixierP.Simon-BouhetB.RestK.L.GuinetC. (2015). Social structure and abundance of coastal bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in the Normano-Breton gulf, English channel. — J. Mammal. 96: 481-493.

ManlyB.F.J. (2011). Heritage windows programs from the RT package. Available at (Accessed: 29 March 2017).

MiyazakiN.NishiwakiM. (1978). School structure of the striped dolphin off the Pacific coast of Japan. — Sci. Rep. Whales. Res. Inst. 30: 65-115.

MöllerL.M. (2012). Sociogenetic structure, kin associations and bonding in delphinids. — Mol. Ecol. 21: 745-764.

MöllerL.M.AllenS.J.HarcourtR.G. (2002). Group characteristics, site fidelity and abundance of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Jervis Bay and Port Stephens, southeastern Australia. — Aust. Mammal. 24: 11-21.

MöllerL.M.BeheregarayL.B.AllenS.J.HarcourtR.G. (2006). Association patterns and kinship in female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) of southeastern Australia. — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 61: 109-117.

MöllerL.M.HarcourtR.G. (2008). Shared reproductive state enhances female associations in dolphins. — Res. Lett. Ecol. 498390.

NishitaM.ShirakiharaM.IwasaN.AmanoM. (in press). Alliance formation of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Amakusa, western Kyushu, Japan. — Mamm. Study.

R Core Team (2016). R: a language and environment for statistical computing. — R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria, available online at

ReisingerR.R.KarczmarskiL. (2010). Population size estimate of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the Algoa Bay region, South Africa. — Mar. Mamm. Sci. 26: 86-97.

RogersC.A.BrunnickB.J.HerzingD.L.BaldwinJ.D. (2004). The social structure of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in the Bahamas. — Mar. Mamm. Sci. 20: 688-708.

ScottM.D.IrvineA.B.WellsR.S. (1990). A long-term study of bottlenose dolphins on the west coast of Florida. — In: The bottlenose dolphin ( LeatherwoodS.ReevesR., eds). Academic Press, San Diego, California, p.  235-244.

ShirakiharaM.ShirakiharaK.TomonagaJ.TakatsukiM. (2002). A resident population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Amakusa, western Kyushu, Japan. — Mar. Mamm. Sci. 18: 30-41.

SmolkerR.A.RichardA.F.ConnorR.C.PepperJ.W. (1992). Sex differences in patterns of association in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. — Behaviour. 123: 38-69.

TavaresS.B.SamarraF.I.P.MillerP.J.O. (2016). A multilevel society of herring-eating killer whales indicates adaptation to prey characteristics. — Behav. Ecol. 28: 500-514.

WhiteheadH. (2008). Precision and power in the analysis of social structure using associations. — Anim. Behav. 75: 1093-1099.

WhiteheadH.DufaultS. (1999). Techniques for analyzing vertebrate social structure using identified individuals: review and recommandations. — Adv. Stud. Behav. 28: 33-74.


  • Map of the study area in Amakusa-Shimoshima, western Kyushu, Japan.

    View in gallery
  • Number of identified individuals in a group in each season. Seasons were defined as spring (March–May), summer (June–August), autumn (September–November) and winter (December–February). Whiskers show minimum and maximum values. The boxes show lower and upper quartile and midlines show medians.

    View in gallery
  • Social network diagrams of female Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Amakusa-Shimoshima using photograph- and group-based definition of association. Each symbol indicates individual and the line width between the symbols indicates the strength of associations. The positions of individuals are based on the principle coordinate analysis.

    View in gallery
  • Mean and SD of the half-weight indices using photograph- and group-based association and those of the half-weight index gregariousness using group-based association from a female that lost her calf (#246) to females of each reproductive status category. An asterisk indicates a significant difference with p-value of < 0.05.

    View in gallery
  • An Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins showing injuries presumed to be caused by shark. This picture was taken on 15th September 2015 in the northern coast of Amakusa-Shimoshima.

    View in gallery


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 16 16 11
Full Text Views 4 4 4
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0