Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Facts about signature whistles of bottlenose dolpins, Tursiops truncatus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Data collected from wild and captive bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, over the past five decades indicate that they produce individually distinctive signature whistles that function in individual recognition and in maintaining group cohesion. However, a recent study by McCowan & Reiss (2001, Animal Behaviour, 62, 1151 - 1162) failed to detect signature whistles in nine of 12 captive bottlenose dolphins. These authors suggested that previous studies of signature whistles had used biased data sets, and claimed that the visual classification methods used by most researchers were inferior to their computerized technique. To evaluate their claims, we randomly selected 20 whistles from each of 20 bottlenose dolphins from recordings made during brief capture - release events in Sarasota Bay, FL, U.S.A., and asked 10 judges to visually group spectrograms based on similarity of their contours. Judges consistently grouped whistles according to the identity of the vocalizer; the mean number of whistles of a single dolphin in the judges' groups was 18.9 +/- 1.6 out of 20 possible; resampling simulations indicate that it is highly unlikely (P < 0.0001) for this many whistles to be grouped together randomly. In contrast, the McCowan method was highly inaccurate at classifying whistles according to the identity of the vocalizer; whistles produced by multiple dolphins were grouped together. This study provides strong external validation for the reliability of visual classification of whistles, and confirms the presence of individually distinctive signature whistles in the vocal repertoire of bottlenose dolphins. (c) 2007 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Close

    Research areas

  • bottlenose dolphin, communication, signature whistle classification, Tursiops truncatus, BUBBLESTREAM WHISTLES, CAPTIVE DOLPHINS, REPERTOIRES, SIGNALS, INFORMATION, VOCALIZATIONS, DELPHINIDAE, MODEL, CALLS, BATS

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Conditioned variation in heart rate during static breath-holds in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

    Fahlman, A., Cozzi, B., Manley, M., Jabas, S., Malik, M., Blawas, A. & Janik, V. M., 24 Nov 2020, In: Frontiers in Physiology. 11, 604018.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. The startle reflex in echolocating odontocetes: basic physiology and practical implications

    Götz, T., Pacini, A. F., Nachtigall, P. & Janik, V. M., 12 Mar 2020, In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 223, 12 p., jeb208470.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Repeated downsweep vocalizations of the Araguaian river dolphin, Inia araguaiaensis

    Melo-Santos, G., Walmsley, S. F., Marmontel, M., Oliveira-da-Costa, M. & Janik, V. M., Feb 2020, In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, p. 748-756

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Bottlenose dolphin calves have multi-year elevations of plasma oxytocin compared to all other age classes

    Robinson, K. J., Ternes, K., Hazon, N., Wells, R. & Janik, V. M., 15 Jan 2020, In: General and Comparative Endocrinology. 286, 113323.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Signal-specific amplitude adjustment to noise in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

    Kragh, I. M., McHugh, K., Wells, R. S., Sayigh, L. S., Janik, V. M., Tyack, P. L. & Jensen, F. H., 3 Dec 2019, In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 222, 23, 11 p., jeb216606.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Manon Karin Schweinfurth (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 2021 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)

    1 Jan 201831 Dec 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  3. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)

    15 Sep 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Michael Munro Webster (Editor)

    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)

    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Are cognitive abilities under selection by female choice? A comment on Chen et al. (2019)

    Camacho-Alpízar, A., Griffin, A. S. & Guillette, L. M., Jul 2020, In: Animal Behaviour. 165, p. e1-e3

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Cognitive styles: speed–accuracy trade-offs underlie individual differences in archerfish

    Jones, N. A. R., Webster, M., Newport, C., Templeton, C. N., Schuster, S. & Rendell, L., Feb 2020, In: Animal Behaviour. 160, p. 1-14 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. The reliability of individual vocal signature varies across the bonobo's graded repertoire

    Keenan, S., Mathevon, N., Stevens, J. M. G., Nicolè, F., Zuberbühler, K., Guéry, J. P. & Levréro, F., Nov 2020, In: Animal Behaviour. 169, p. 9-21 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Evolutionary roads to syntax

    Zuberbuhler, K., May 2019, In: Animal Behaviour. 151, p. 259-265

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Male Norway rats cooperate according to direct but not generalized reciprocity rules

    Schweinfurth, M. K., Aeschbacher, J., Santi, M. & Taborsky, M., Jun 2019, In: Animal Behaviour. 152, p. 93-101

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 365895

Top