DEMOGRAPHIC PARAMETERS OF INDO-PACIFIC BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS ADUNCUS) AROUND MIKURA ISLAND, JAPAN

Authors


Abstract

Long-term identification surveys were conducted using video records on Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) around Mikura Island, Tokyo, Japan. On 246 surveys, 3,996 min of video were recorded during each summer season from 1994 to 2001. Two hundred and twenty individuals were observed, including juveniles and neonates, that were not cataloged, but could be identified by association with their mothers. Over the eight-year study period, the total number of identified and cataloged individuals was 169. The annual number of newly identified dolphins stabilized at ∼ 10 after 1995. In the middle of each research season, a plateau in the number of reidentified individuals was reached. Most of the dolphins were observed frequently–percentages of reidentified dolphins in adjoining years were greater than 86% and 62 individuals were seen consecutively during the eight years. There were no significant differences in the sex ratio between years. The sex ratio was skewed significantly towards male for subadults and towards female for adults. The survival rate of one-year-old calves was 86.7%, and the mean age at weaning was 3.5 yr. The calving interval averaged 3.4 yr among adult females. The mean annual birth, fecundity, and recruitment rates were 0.071, 0.239, and 0.068, respectively. Mikura Island is located in the pelagic ocean with no protected bay area existing around the island. Dolphins do not regularly inhabit any other locations besides Mikura within the Izu island chain. Thus, this island may be important core habitat of these dolphins.

Ancillary