Social structure of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in Panama City, Florida

  • Bouveroux T
  • Mallefet J
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Social organization is an important attribute of the animal society. We describe the social structure of a bottlenose dolphins population living in Panama City, a seaside resort located on the north-west coast of Florida. Study was conducted with 46 individuals. Dolphins are associated on average half weight index of 0.11. Preferred long-term associations are observed. The proportion of the non-zero association indices suggests that some dolphins seem to avoid others. Associations between and within sex-classes were investigated using only dolphins of known sex and observed at least 4 times. Highly significant differences are found in associations between and within sex-classes (Mantel test, t ¼ 3.7987; P ¼ 1); indeed, male associations are stronger than between inter-sexual associations or between females only. Sociogram of males reveals a complex network with strong associations between pairs or trios that reach up to 0.97, whereas female associations are lower than males. The cluster analysis shows no clear division in the social organization of bottlenose dolphins in Panama City, except for dyads, triads and their multiple networks. The population structure seems to be temporally stable over the study and constant companionships are observed in the dolphin population in Panama City.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alliances
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Fission-fusion
  • Social structure
  • Tursiops truncatus

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  • Th Bouveroux

  • J. Mallefet

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