[MARMAM] New publication on body size assortative pairing of male and female humpback whales

Adam Pack pack at hawaii.edu
Tue Oct 2 23:42:39 PDT 2012


Aloha colleagues,


I am pleased to inform you of the publication of the following paper
investigating the role of body size in the pairing of humpback whales into
male-female dyads.  If you are interested in obtaining an electronic pdf of
this paper, please contact Adam Pack at University of Hawai'i at Hilo at
pack at hawaii.edu



Pack, A. A., Herman, L. M., Spitz, S. S., Craig, A. S., Hakala, S., Deakos,
M. H., Herman, E. Y. K., Milette, A. J., Carroll, E., Levitt, S., & Lowe,
C. (2012).  Size-assortative pairing and discrimination of potential mates
by humpback whales in the Hawaiian breeding grounds.  *Animal Behaviour, 84*,
983-993.


Assortative pairing, and its relation to mate choice, has rarely been
documented in mammals. Using data collected during 1998*-*2007, we
investigated size-assortative pairing as it relates to
discrimination amongst potential mates in humpback whale, *Megaptera
novaeangliae*, dyads in the Hawaiian breeding grounds. Across 67 male*-*female
dyads in which both individuals were measured using
underwater videogrammetry, male length was positively correlated with
female length. Detailed analyses on the assessment of maturity by
comparisons with whaling data revealed that mature-sized females
associated almost exclusively with mature-sized males and had a significant
preference for large mature-sized males. In contrast, mature-sized males
were less discriminating in their associations with females and showed no
significant preference for mature-sized females. However, mature-sized
males that associated with immature-sized females were significantly
smaller than males that associated with mature-sized females. Finally,
immature-sized males tended to associate with immature-sized females. The
sex differences in size preference by mature whales probably reflect the
relatively high costs of mature females mating with small or immature males
compared to the lower costs of mature males mating with small or immature
females. Body size appears to influence the adoption of alternative mating
tactics by males such that smaller mature males avoid the costs of
competing for the highest-quality females and instead focus their
attentions on smaller females that may or may not be mature. Overall, our
results provide the first quantitative evidence of size-assortative pairing
and female discrimination amongst potential mates in humpback whales and
indeed in any cetacean species.



Adam A. Pack, Ph.D

Associate Professor, Departments of Psychology and Biology

University of Hawai'i at Hilo

200 West Kawili Street

Hilo, Hawai'i 96720
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