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Atypical associations between dugongs (Dugong dugon) and dolphins in a tropical lagoon
Kiszka, J.J. (2007). Atypical associations between dugongs (Dugong dugon) and dolphins in a tropical lagoon. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. Spec. Issue 87(1): 101-104. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025315407055129
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

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  • Kiszka, J.J.

Abstract
    Several types of relationships link organisms to each other, including competition, predation and various types of associations. This paper presents the first case of association/interaction between dugongs, Dugong dugon, the only strictly marine herbivorous mammal, and three species of tropical dolphins in and around the lagoon of Mayotte (45°10'E 12°50'S), in the western tropical Indian ocean. Data were collected opportunistically from 1999 to 2005 in the surrounding waters of Mayotte from boat (N=2 observations) and ULM (ultra-light motorized vessel, N=2). The dolphin species involved in associations with dugongs were Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursips aduncus, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis, and spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris. In one case, dugongs were associated with both bottlenose and humpback dolphins. Associations were observed in the protected waters of the lagoon and outside, along the external slope of the barrier reef. Group size, activity and group structure of each species were recorded. Behavioural observations suggest that dugongs and dolphins were engaged in similar activities, such as travelling, on several occasions and were clearly associated when group formation was tight. If dolphins and dugongs may not associate for feeding purposes, then these interactions may occur: (1) for predation avoidance toward sharks; or (2) without any ecological reasons due to dolphin and dugong habitat overlap around the island.

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