[MARMAM] New paper on sperm whale communication

Ricardo Antunes rna at st-andrews.ac.uk
Thu Feb 10 00:37:33 PST 2011

Dear All

I would like to draw the attention to the following paper:

"Individually distinctive acoustic features in sperm whale codas",
  by Ricardo Antunes, Tyler Schulz, Shane Gero, Hal Whitehead, Jonathan 
Gordon, Luke Rendell,
  in Animal Behaviour.

Social animals may develop behavioural strategies that are based on 
individualized relationships among members. In these cases, there might 
be selection pressures for the development of identity signals and 
mechanisms that allow discrimination and recognition of particular 
individuals. Female sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, live in 
long-term, stable social units. Differential interactions among unit 
members suggest the need for an individual discrimination system. Sperm 
whales produce stereotyped series of click sounds called codas, which 
are thought to be used for communication. Although codas were initially 
proposed as individual signatures, later studies did not support this 
hypothesis. Using linear discriminant functions and Mantel tests, we 
tested variation within coda types as a means for individual 
identification, using recordings where codas were assigned to individual 
whales. While most coda types showed no indication of 
individual-specific information, individual differences that were robust 
to variation among recording days were found in the 5 Regular coda type. 
Differences in individual-specific information between coda types 
suggest that different coda types may have distinct functions.

This has just been made available online:


For those interested but unable to access the full article please send a 
request for a copy to rna at st-andrews.ac.uk.

Best regards

Ricardo Antunes

Dr Ricardo Antunes
Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Scottish Oceans Institute
Sea Mammal Research Unit
School of Biology
Tel: +44 1334 463595
University of St Andrews

More information about the MARMAM mailing list