Researchers from the University of Western Australia have found out that male dolphins offer several gifts to females such as marine sponges and perform acrobatic stunts in order to mate.
Scientists from UWA’s School of Biological Sciences, the University of Zurich and Murdoch University conducted a decade of boat-based research on coastal dolphins across north-western Australia.
It's the first time that such sort of behaviour has been documented in this species.
The first observation was conducted between a male, female dolphin and a calf. The male dived to the seafloor for marine sponge, balanced it on his beak and pushed it towards the female.
Lead author Dr Simon Allen from UWA’s School of Biological Sciences, claimed that the findings suggested an advanced level of social complexity in humpback dolphins.
“We were at first perplexed to witness these intriguing behavioural displays by male humpback dolphins, but as we undertook successive field trips over the years, the evidence mounted,” Dr Allen said.
Co-author Dr Stephanie King said that sometimes large adult male dolphins also appeared to be working together in pairs.
Dr Allen and other researchers spent 10 years examining the behaviour. They now hope to demonstrate whether the efforts of the male are actually successful by examining behavioural observations and genetics.