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Feeding aggregation and aggressive interaction between bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and Commerson’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus commersonii) in Patagonia, Argentina


We report the first recorded interactions between bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Commerson’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus commersonii). The diurnal behavioral patterns of bottlenose dolphins in Bahía Engaño, Argentina, were similar to those described for other coastal populations around the world. The majority of the feeding bouts were recorded near the mouth the Chubut River. When not feeding near the river, bottlenose dolphins generally swam along the coast, and interactions with Commerson’s dolphins were recorded very close to the shore on two occasions during a 3-year period. In the first event, both species were feeding on a fish school. The second interaction was aggressive in nature, involving one juvenile and three adult bottlenose dolphins with several Commerson’s dolphins. Two of the adult bottlenose dolphins attacked the Commerson’s dolphins. We propose that the observed behavior represented defense of the juvenile bottlenose dolphin.

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The authors are indebted to many people and organizations for the institutional, logistical, and financial support given throughout this study. We thank the Centro Nacional Patagónico––CONICET, Fundación BBVA (BIOCON 04), ANPCyT 4025, 4030, 11679 and 33934, and Project PNUD ARG-02/018 (B-B27). We also thank the Secretaría de Turismo de Chubut that granted the permits to carry out the studies. Néstor García made the determination of the prey species found in the stomach content of the beached bottlenose dolphin. Dr. Dave Beauchamp improved the language style.

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Correspondence to Mariano A. Coscarella.

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Coscarella, M.A., Crespo, E.A. Feeding aggregation and aggressive interaction between bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and Commerson’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus commersonii) in Patagonia, Argentina. J Ethol 28, 183 (2010).

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  • Tursiops truncatus
  • Cephalorhynchus commersonii
  • Interspecies interaction
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Feeding behavior