Aggression towards neonates and possible infanticide in the boto, or Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis)

V. M. F. da Silva (Lead / Corresponding author), P. M. Silva, F. Schlichta, N. A. S. do Carmo, G. L. Olson, B. G. Hintermayer, M. C. Araujo, A. R. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent observed attacks by male Amazon river dolphins on conspecific calves, together with postmortem examinations, indicate that infanticide occurs in this species but that not all attacked calves are killed. If mortality occurs, it might therefore be an inadvertent consequence of the behaviour rather than the motive for it. Our observations suggest that males who commit infanticide are unlikely to gain direct fitness benefits. Evidence does not fit the sexual selection hypothesis. Aggression towards calves usually ‘drew a crowd’ and may represent socio-sexual display or simply be a form of social pathology, as found in other infanticidal mammals.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalBehaviour
Early online date12 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Amazon river dolphin
  • Infanticide
  • Neonates

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