It seems humans are not the only ones who resort to strategies when they want to attract their partners. Such behaviors are also common among some marine mammals, who lead real efforts to convince females to mate. These marine mammals are the Australian humpback dolphins, which offer females marine sponges as gifts. Sometimes, they can even use the help of wingmen during the wooing process.
Humpback dolphins give gifts to females to convince them to mate
This is the first study to look at this complex wooing behavior in humpback dolphins. Also, it represents one of the few cases of a mammal different from humans makes use of objects for a sexual purpose. Apart from using help from others, these dolphins can also sing and move to attract the females’ attention. Researchers believe this is a way to convince the females they are strong and worthy to mate with.
The first time when researchers detected an unusual behavior in dolphins, they observed a male specimen taking a sponge from the bottom of the ocean, and then giving it to a female as some sort of gift. Dolphins in general are extremely smart, but humpbacks are one the brightest species out there.
They even use wingmen to persuade females
At first, the behavior might have seemed strange. However, after a series of observations, researchers could confirm its purpose. Simon Allen, the lead author of the study, explains that humpback dolphins are some of the most complex social mammals.
“Some of the most socially complex animals (…) using sponges (…) as a gift, a display of his quality, or (…) as a threat in the behavioral contexts of socializing and mating.”
Even more remarkable was the ‘wingman’ behavior, where several male dolphins worked together to help one of them attract the attention of a female. This is extremely unusual, since only one of the individuals enjoys the success at the end. Therefore, it represents solid proof that the species is an extremely complex one.