Tag: freshwater dolphin

Boto dolphins woo females with chat-up vines

By Ed Yong | March 31, 2008 8:00 am

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchYou might not be that impressed to receive a clump of grass or branches on a first date, but a boto dolphin might think differently. A new study suggests that these Amazonian dolphins wave bits of flotsam to attract mates.

Boto.jpgThe boto is a freshwater river dolphin that swims through the currents of the Amazon and the Orinoco. They are elusive creatures that are difficult to study, so very little is known about their social lives.

Tony Martin from the University of St Andrews spent three years in the Amazonian Mamiraua reserve studying the behaviour of botos. During this time, he spotted over 200 groups of dolphins playing with objects, a behaviour that other scientists have noted throughout the animals’ range and was recently filmed in the “Fresh Water” episode of Planet Earth. 

The botos pick up branches, sticks, vegetations and lumps of clay in their mouths, often thrashing them against the water surface or throwing them with jerks of the head. None of the objects are edible and the carriers often swim in a ritualised way, spinning slowly with their head above the water.

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