February 27, 2024

Two Unusual Interactions Between a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and a Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Hawaiian Waters


Mark H. Deakos, Brian K. Branstetter, Lori Mazzuca, Dagmar Fertl, and Joseph R. Mobley, Jr.


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.

Key Words: humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, interspecific play, object play, social play, Hawaii

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.36.2.2010.121

Page Numbers: 121-128

Info SKU: Vol__36__Iss__2__Deakos_et__al_ Category: