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Abstract: Emigration of individual animals is an important biological phenomenon that depends on both populations and ecosystem attributes. Off Mikura Island, a long-term identification survey of individual Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins has been conducted since 1994 using an underwater video system. Between 1994 and 2014, 277 individual dolphins were identified by this survey, with 41 individuals emigrating from Mikura Island during this period. Adults emigrated significantly more often than younger age classes. The sex and age classes of emigrants in 2008 and 2010 (the years with the greatest amount of emigration) differed, suggesting that social relationships within a population may affect emigration. Emigrants were observed among the Izu Island Chain and in Chiba, Shizuoka, Mie, and Wakayama Prefectures. The greatest distance dolphins emigrated from Mikura Island was 390 km to Tanabe in Wakayama Prefecture. Some individuals were observed to have emigrated to several areas during the period. The most frequent destination was Toshima Island, one of the Izu Islands Chain, where emigrants have been observed to reproduce. Emigrant groups were composed exclusively of individuals from Mikura Island; there were no immigrants to the Mikura Island area during the 20-y period of observation, although six emigrants eventually returned to their original range. Future studies of social relationships and habitat use by emigrants will reveal more about the reasons dolphins leave their habitats.
Key Words: emigration, long-distance movement, Japan, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops aduncus
Document Type: Research Article
Page Numbers: 585-593