Dolphin social tension

A rainy day

 social dolphins June is usually a rainy month here on Mikura, and yesterday was a fine example of the kind of weather I can expect in the coming weeks. We ran across rainy patches all around the island. We had a few standard water entries, but the highlight of the trip was the last encounter. We observed a large group of adult and subadult males and females engaged in some energetic social activity. It appeared that a group of males was chasing a few individual dolphins – likely females, although we could not get a good look at them. They were too fast! There was a lot of activity at the surface – leaping out of the water, belly up behavior, etc. Most likely the males were trying to mate with the females, although I can’t be sure exactly what was going on. It seems that so much of dolphin social life is about tension between the two sexes – a common enough theme for most animal species, including humans. What is interesting about dolphins is the ways in which they appear to form relationships between individuals in order to navigate these social tensions. Some researchers have found that male dolphins will partner up with each other for years at a time – sometimes even decades – forming a coalition that will help them to gain access to females. Here on Mikura, we see a female dolphins that appear to stick together – especially females with calves. Anyhow, we will see if I get another boat trip tomorrow!