The function of male sperm whale slow clicks in a high latitude habitat: Communication, echolocation, or prey debilitation?

Claudia Oliveira, Magnus Wahlberg, Johnson Mark, Patrick Miller, Peter Teglberg Madsen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Abstrakt

Sperm whales produce different click types for echolocation and communication. Usual clicks and buzzes appear to be used primarily in foraging while codas are thought to function in social communication. The function of slow clicks is less clear, but they appear to be produced by males at higher latitudes, where they primarily forage solitarily, and on the breeding grounds, where they roam between groups of females. Here the behavioral context in which these vocalizations are produced and the function they may serve was investigated. Ninety-nine hours of acoustic and diving data were analyzed from sound recording tags on six male sperm whales in Northern Norway. The 755 slow clicks detected were produced by tagged animals at the surface (52), ascending from a dive (37), and during the bottom phase (11), but never during the descent. Slow clicks were not associated with the production of buzzes, other echolocation clicks, or fast maneuvering that would indicate foraging. Some slow clicks were emitted in seemingly repetitive temporal patterns supporting the hypothesis that the function for slow clicks on the feeding grounds is long range communication between males, possibly relaying information about individual identity or behavioral states.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAcoustical Society of America. Journal
Vol/bind133
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)3135-3144
ISSN0001-4966
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2013

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