Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

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Behavioral event occurrence differs between behavioral states in Sotalia guianensis (Cetarctiodactyla: Delphinidae) dolphins: a multivariate approach

Tardin, Rodrigo HPinto, Míriam PAlves, Maria Alice SSimão, Sheila M

Difficulties in quantifying behavioral events can cause loss of information about cetacean behavior, especially behaviors whose functions are still debated. The lack of knowledge is greater for South American species such as Sotalia guianensis (Van Benédén, 1864). Our objective was to contextualize the behavioral events inside behavioral states using a Permutational Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). Three events occurred in the Feeding, Socio-Sexual and Travelling states (Porpoising, Side flop, Tail out dive), and five events occurred in the Feeding and Travelling states (Back flop, Horizontal jump, Lobtail, Spy-hop, Partial flop ahead). Three events (Belly exposure, Club, and Heading) occurred exclusively in the Socio-sexual state. Partial Back flop and Head flop occurred exclusively in the Feeding state. For the events that occurred in multiple states, we observed that some events occurred more frequently in one of the states (p 0.001), such as Lobtail, Tail out dive horizontal Jump, Partial flop ahead and Side flop. Our multivariate analysis, which separated Socio-sexual behavior from Feeding and Travelling, showed that the abundance of behavioral events differs between states. This differentiation indicates that some events are associated with specific behavioral states. Almost 40% of the events observed were exclusively performed in one state, which indicates a high specialization for some events. Proper discrimination and contextualization of behavioral events may be efficient tools to better understand dolphin behaviors. Similar studies in other habitats and with other species, will help build a broader scenario to aid our understanding of the functions of dolphin behavioral events.(AU)

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