|Neonate Behavioral Development in Beluga Whales and Pacific White-sided Dolphins at One Zoological Facility|
|Kendal A. Smith1, Lance J. Miller 2. 1University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, United States; 2Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL, United States
Cetacean development is important for comparative understanding and the implementation of informed husbandry policies. However, no previous studies have attempted to observe the behavioral development of Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhyncus obliquidens). Seven beluga whale calves and three Pacific white-sided dolphin calves were observed for the first 30 days of life to determine the developmental trajectory of several typically monitored behaviors. The first occurrence and trajectory for each behavior are described to identify normal variation and to document differences between Pacific white-sided dolphin and beluga whale neonatal development. A single-case time series design analyzed developmental pattern differences within the 30 days for the calves. Overall, beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins exhibited similar developmental trends; however, beluga whale calves had significantly higher nursing duration and frequency and rates of slipstream position than Pacific white-sided dolphin calves. The results of this study may be used to better understand norms of cetacean development and to stimulate developmental research in a variety of cetacean species.