acta ethologica

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Variation in Guiana dolphin parental care according to calf age class

  • Clarissa R. Teixeira
  • Caio N. Louzada
  • Andreas L. S. Meyer
  • Emygdio L. A. Monteiro-Filho
Original Paper


An extended period of parental care is fundamental for survival of cetacean offspring. Although qualitative descriptions of parental care and mother-calf spatial relationships are available for several species, studies using a quantitative approach throughout development of offspring are scarce. Here, we analyzed how strategies of parental care occur during the ontogeny of the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis, in the Cananéia estuarine system, São Paulo, Brazil. We tested the hypothesis that both the strategy and frequency of parental care vary according to the development of the offspring and assessed whether such changes are associated with the life stage of the calves. The frequency of parental care did not decrease according to the age of the calves. However, parental care strategies directed at infants were more diversified than those directed at neonates and juveniles. Increasing maternal-calf separation can expose older calves to new and risky situations and may demand different strategies of care. We conclude that there is a shift in the strategy adopted by the S. guianensis mothers according to the requirements of each age class, with parental care being dispensed until calves become fully independent.


Animal behavior Calves Cananéia estuarine system Mother-calf relationship Ontogeny Sotalia guianensis 



We thank Instituto de Pesquisas Cananéia (IPeC) for logistical support and PETROBRAS (Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.) for financial support through the Programa Petrobras Ambiental. We are grateful to Reinaldo R. Ribeiro for conducting the boat during field surveys and to Elizabeth C. Miller and Walter Rich, who kindly revised the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ISPA 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clarissa R. Teixeira
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Caio N. Louzada
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Andreas L. S. Meyer
    • 4
  • Emygdio L. A. Monteiro-Filho
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em EcologiaUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos (LAMAq), Departamento de Ecologia e ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto de Pesquisas Cananéia (IPeC)São PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Programa de Pós-Graduação em ZoologiaUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  5. 5.Laboratório de Biologia e Ecologia de Vertebrados, Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal do Paraná, Centro PolitécnicoCuritibaBrazil

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