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Food sharing in wild bottlenose dolphins
Abstract: In Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, we documented the first case of two bottlenose dolphins sharing a fish. The fish was shared between a male and female dolphin (who was accompanied by a calf). Possession of the fish changed 11 times during the 30-min observation period. No obvious attempts were made by any of the dolphins to steal or escape with the fish. Interestingly, apparent consumption of the fish did not commence until possession of the fish had changed several times. The relationship between the male and female is unknown, but sexual behaviour between the two was observed the previous day. Although food sharing has been reported in a number of mammals in a variety of contexts, the repeated changes in ownership of the food item reported here is, at best, extremely rare in other taxa.
Key Words: FOOD SHARING; BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS; TURSIOPS SP; COSTA RICA; MOTHER-CALF INTERACTION; BEHAVIOUR; MATING RELATIONSHIPS
Document Type: Research article