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Within-pod variation in the sound production of a pod of killer whales, Orcinus orca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pod-specific calling behaviour of resident killer whales has been shown to include: discrete call types not shared among pods, different production rates of shared call types, and differences in the detailed structure of shared call types. To investigate the mechanisms leading to pod-specific calling, we compared the repertoire and structure of calls produced by three different matrilineal units within the same pod, and described call features encoding matrilineal-unit distinctiveness. The three matrilineal units had different production rates of shared calls, including one call type used almost exclusively by one matrilineal unit. Cross-validated discriminant function analyses revealed matrilineal-unit distinctive structure in five of the six shared call types examined, with duration of the terminal component being the most distinctive feature for all call types containing a terminal component. Calls generally consist of low- and high-frequency components that may follow different time-frequency contours. In our sample, a particular high-frequency contour was consistently paired with a particular low-frequency contour, both contours had roughly equal overall variability, and each contained independent matrilineal-unit distinctive information. The only call type that did not differ structurally between matrilineal units is reportedly used more in interpod meetings than in intrapod contexts. The differences in calling behaviour between matrilineal units were similar in form to previously described differences between pods, although more subtle. These results suggest that pod-specific calling behaviour in resident killer whales arises primarily as a consequence of accumulated drift or divergence between highly cohesive matrilineal units as they gradually separate into different pods. (C) 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-628
Number of pages12
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume60
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2000

    Research areas

  • BRITISH-COLUMBIA, FORAGING BEHAVIOR, CROSS-VALIDATION, SONG, VOCALIZATIONS, DIALECTS, WATERS, PARTS

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