Social organization in northern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus): not driven by deep water foraging?

S Gowans, H Whitehead, Sascha Kate Hooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is postulated that deep-water foraging in sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, has led to communal care of young and long-term female bonds. By studying the social organization of a second, unrelated, deep-diving species, the northern bottlenose whale, we investigated the role that deep diving may play in the evolution of cetacean sociality. Northern bottlenose whales in a deep-water canyon, the Gully off Nova Scotia, Canada, form small groups ((X) over bar +/- SD = 3.04 +/- 1.86). Associations within age/sex classes (female/immature, subadult male and mature male) were significantly higher than associations between different classes. Females and immature bottlenose whales formed a loose network of associations, showing no preferential associations with particular individuals or those from specific age/sex classes nor any long-term bonds. Mature and subadult males had stronger associations with individuals in their own class, and associations between some males lasted for several years, although males also formed many short-term associations. Overall the social organization of northern bottlenose whales in the Gully appears to resemble that of some bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, living in shallow, enclosed bays. Thus deep-water foraging does not appear to necessarily lead to the evolution of long-term bonds between females., (C) 2001 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377.
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume62
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

Keywords

  • NOSED DOLPHINS
  • SPERM WHALES
  • IDENTIFIED INDIVIDUALS
  • GALAPAGOS-ISLANDS
  • DIVING BEHAVIOR
  • ASSOCIATION
  • PATTERNS

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