The Dusky Dolphin

Master Acrobat Off Different Shores

Edited by

  • Bernd Wursig, Texas A&M University, Galveston, Texas, USA
  • Melany Wursig

The Dusky Dolphin: Master Acrobat Off Different Shores covers various topics about the dusky dolphin, including its taxonomy, history and demography, ecology, and behavior. After introducing the dusky dolphin as a member of the genus Lagenorhynchus under the family Delphinidae, the book continues by describing its life history, its demographic patterns, and its role in the food web considering predation, parasitism, and competition. The book also includes chapters that discuss the interaction of the dusky dolphin with its habitats, such as the dusky dolphin’s sound production, its foraging at night and in daylight, its survival strategies in response to predator threats, the mating habits of New Zealand duskies, calf rearing, sexual segregation, and genetic relationships. Other chapters address the interaction of dusky dolphins with humans. This book offers information about dusky dolphins off Southern Africa and discussions about the patterns of sympatry in Lagenorhynchus and Cephalorhynchus. Finally, comparisons between dusky dolphins and great apes as large-brained mammals are also reviewed in this book.
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Marine biologists; mammalogists; students of animal behavior; students of social ecology


Book information

  • Published: September 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-373723-6


"... this beautifully illustrated book, with many color photos (e.g., p. 247) and close to a thousand combined references at the end for easy look-up, is the very best to date describing our current state of knowledge on the dusky dolphin-and in doing so shedding light on the life of any other delphinid, too, for that matter. The Dusky Dolphin, simply put, is one of those classics which should not be missing from the shelves of anyone in the marine mammal field."--Michiel Schotten, Department of Marine Biology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
"Chapters are well written and the mostly high-quality color figures are useful and relevant. This volume illustrates that the incremental progress made in any individual study can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of a species. This ‘big picture’ is lacking for many species, but is sorely needed as management issues continue to become more complicated and pressing as we move further into the 21st century."--Quarterly Review of Biology, September 2012, page 273

Table of Contents


About the Editors

1. The Dusky Dolphins’ Place in the Delphinid Family Tree

2. Dusky Dolphin Life History and Demography

3. Dusky Dolphin Trophic Ecology: Their Role in the Food Web

4. Acoustics of Dusky Dolphins

5. Dusky Dolphins Foraging at Night

6. Dusky Dolphins Foraging in Daylight

7. Predator Threats and Dusky Dolphin Survival Strategies

8. Mating Habits of New Zealand Dusky Dolphins

9. Dusky Dolphin Calf Rearing

10. Sexual Segregation and Genetic Relatedness in New Zealand

11. Human Interactions with Dusky Dolphins: Harvest, Fisheries, Habitat Alteration, and Tourism

12. Human Interactions with Dusky Dolphins: A Management Perspective

13. Dolphin Swimming and Watching: One Tourism Operator’s Perspective

14. Neglected But Not Forgotten-Southern Africa’s Dusky Dolphins

15. Patterns of Sympatry in Lagenorhynchus and Cephalorhynchus: Dolphins in Different Habitats

16. A Large-brained Social Animal

17. Social Creatures in a Changing Sea: Concluding Remarks