Title Ontogeny of aquatic behaviours in Antarctic fur seal (Actocephalus gazella) pups in relation to growth performances at Kerguelen Islands
Author Gastebois, C.; Viviant, M.; Guinet, C.
Author Affil Gastebois, C., CNRS, Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chize, Villiers en Bois, France
Source Polar Biology, 34(7), p.1097-1103. Publisher: Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany. ISSN: 0722-4060
Publication Date July 2011
Notes In English. 26 refs. GeoRef Acc. No: 309872
Index Terms Indian Ocean Islands--Kerguelen Islands; aquatic environment; behavior; Carnivora; Chordata; ecology; Eutheria; growth; Indian Ocean Islands; Kerguelen Islands; Mammalia; ontogeny; physiology; Pinnipedia; subantarctic regions; Tetrapoda; Theria; Vertebrata
Abstract In diving marine predators, such as pinnipeds, the development of diving and foraging skills prior to weaning might be critical to post-weaning survival. Here, we examined the effect of pup mass growth on the amount of time devoted to aquatic activities and the dive performance of Antarctic fur seal, Arctocephalus gazella, pups on Kerguelen Island. Maternal attendance and mass specific growth rate were assessed for 85 pups. Two types of monitoring were applied: visual observations of behaviours for 60 pups and the deployment of time-depth recorders (TDRs) on 19 female pups. At approximately 2 months of age, pups demonstrated minimal diving behaviour, but displayed considerable aquatic activity. While mothers were foraging at sea, pups fasted on land (6.01.3 d). As the mass- specific growth rate was different between sexes, only data on female pups were analysed (n=31). Mass-specific growth rate was related to maternal attendance patterns and impacted the amount of time allocated by pups to aquatic activities. The time spent in the water by pups was quadratically related to fasting progress. This study shows the importance of growth and fasting progress on the quantity of time pups devoted to aquatic activities. Our results suggest that greater postweaning survival of heavier pups may be due not only to their greater body reserves, as reported in several studies, but also possibly to from their greater aquatic skills and physiological adaptations developed during the suckling period.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00300-011-0965-6
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 91549