Female sea otters use more tools than males

Hungry sea otters have come up with a solution when they want to open the shell of a crustacean without damaging their teeth: by using tools. The furry marine mammals are vital to California's kelp forests, and they can be eat 25 percent of their own body weight per day. They especially enjoy eating large abalones and sea urchins, and can prevent the urchins from taking over marine ecosystems. They will also switch to clams, clams, crabs and small sea snails when their preferred prey becomes exhausted.

Chewing on all those hard-shelled organisms can cause tooth damage, so sea otters – especially females – use tools to eat larger prey. The findings are described in a study published May 16 in the journal Science.

Southern sea otters are considered an endangered species only about 3,000 in California. Their main threats are prey, entanglement in commercial fishing gear, oil spills, disease and shark predation. according to the Marine Mammal Commission.

In the studya team from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California, Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay Aquarium collaborated volunteer “otter spotters” to track 196 radio-tagged southern sea otters off the coast of California. They monitored how these endangered marine mammals use tools – including trash, shells and stones – to break open prey. They also made some connections with their diets and dental health.

“Tools allow otters to specialize in different diets (when preferred prey is limited) that they otherwise could not eat without the use of tools,” study co-author and UT Austin biologist Chris Wet tells PopSci. “This allows them to maintain their energetic needs even when their preferred prey is exhausted.”

When food supplies dwindle or disappear, feasting on crabs, clams, mussels and small sea snails with hard shells can damage their teeth when prying them open. Their dental condition is important for survival. If they become too worn or damaged, the otters can starve. The study found that female otters had less dental damage than male otters and used tools more often.

“Females raise young, that is [a] very energetically expensive to do. These results suggest that tool use allows female otters to overcome the mechanical limitations of processing harder prey associated with their smaller body size,” says Law. “We found that tool-using females consumed prey that was 21 to 35% harder compared to male tool users and non-tool users, despite their smaller heads and weaker biting skills compared to those of males.”

[Related: Bears can count, take selfies, use tools, recognize supermodels, and even open car doors.]

Female bonobos, chimpanzeesAnd dolphins They are also known to use more tools than their male counterparts. Scientists suspect that this may also be due to the taxing work involved in raising offspring. Females are also often the ones to pass on tool-use behavior to their offspring.

In future studies, Law hopes to investigate whether individual otters who use tools also have greater reproductive success.

Related Posts

  • Technology
  • June 15, 2024
  • 3 views
  • 35 minutes Read
The best portable Bluetooth speakers of 2024, tested and reviewed

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more › Stan Horaczek Let’s face it: Your phone’s built-in sound sucks, so…

Apple is joining the race to find an AI icon that makes sense

This week was an exciting one for the AI ​​community, as Apple joined Google, OpenAI, Anthropic, Meta, and others in the long-running competition to find an icon that even remotely…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Princess Kate makes her first public appearance during cancer treatment: NPR

  • June 15, 2024
Princess Kate makes her first public appearance during cancer treatment: NPR

Researchers find unique adaptations of fungi associated with bee bread

  • June 15, 2024
Researchers find unique adaptations of fungi associated with bee bread

Scores, results, highlights, standings of Euro 2024: Spain demolish Croatia; Italy vs. Albania close day 2

  • June 15, 2024
Scores, results, highlights, standings of Euro 2024: Spain demolish Croatia;  Italy vs.  Albania close day 2

How the group behind the Supreme Court abortion drug case is expanding its fight worldwide

  • June 15, 2024
How the group behind the Supreme Court abortion drug case is expanding its fight worldwide

The best portable Bluetooth speakers of 2024, tested and reviewed

  • June 15, 2024
The best portable Bluetooth speakers of 2024, tested and reviewed

The lines for CNN's June 27 presidential debate

  • June 15, 2024
The lines for CNN's June 27 presidential debate

Chocolate that utilizes the full potential of the cocoa fruit

  • June 15, 2024
Chocolate that utilizes the full potential of the cocoa fruit

We lower our price target for Salesforce after disappointing guidance

  • June 15, 2024
We lower our price target for Salesforce after disappointing guidance

Apple is joining the race to find an AI icon that makes sense

  • June 15, 2024
Apple is joining the race to find an AI icon that makes sense

Hidden costs of homeownership average $18,000 per year

  • June 15, 2024
Hidden costs of homeownership average $18,000 per year

I canceled a group trip. Do I still have to pay for the hotel?

  • June 15, 2024
I canceled a group trip.  Do I still have to pay for the hotel?