[MARMAM] new publication on humpback whales

Adam A. Pack pack at hawaii.edu
Mon Feb 16 15:16:49 PST 2009

Dear colleagues:

We are pleased to inform you of our latest publication on humpback whales:

Pack, A.A., Herman, L. M., Spitz, S. S., Hakala, S., Deakos, M. H., & 
Herman, E.Y.K. (2009). Male humpback whales in the Hawaiian breeding 
grounds preferentially associate with larger females.  Animal 
Behaviour, 77, 653-662.  An abstract appears below.

If you are interested in a reprint, please email Adam Pack at pack at hawaii.edu.

We wish all of you a happy, peaceful, and productive 2009.

The competitive group appears to be a major component of the mating 
system of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), bringing 
together a single female (nuclear animal or NA) and multiple males 
(escorts) that compete for physical proximity to her. We examined the 
relation of body size of the NA to the number of attending escorts 
and, separately, we determined the relation of a female's body size 
to the size of her calf.    Using underwater videogrammetry in Maui 
waters during 1997-2002, we measured the body length of the NA in 
each of 42 competitive groups. We also measured the lengths of the 
mother and her calf in each of 92 mother-calf groups. The number of 
initial escorts in a competitive group was positively correlated with 
NA body length. Longer mothers were associated with longer calves, 
even after accounting for seasonal differences in calf length. We 
conclude that male humpback whales prefer to associate with larger 
females, and that larger females produce larger calves. 
Theoretically, larger calves have a greater chance of survival than 
do smaller calves.  The choice of a larger female may therefore 
increase the reproductive success of an escort that succeeds in 
Adam A. Pack, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Biology, University of Hawaii at Hilo
Co-founder and Vice President, The Dolphin Institute
Mailing Address:
The Dolphin Institute
P.O. Box 700694
Kapolei, HI  96709
V/F  808-679-3690
email: pack at hawaii.edu
url: www.dolphin-institute.org
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