Research Output

Male mate choice and male-male competition coexist in the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).

  Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) outnumber females on the winter grounds and compete physically for proximity to females. Analyses of identification photographs collected in Hawai¢i from 1976 through
1995 and scan samples collected in 1998 showed that (i) reproductive potential (calving rate) for the following winter was greater for females without a calf than females with a calf, (ii) females without a calf were less likely to be found alone and more likely to be found in large pods than females with a calf, (iii) individual females were found in larger pods when without a calf than when with a calf, (iv) the probability of females with a calf being escorted by one or more males increased as the reproductive season progressed, and (v) head lunges occurred more commonly in all-adult pods than in pods containing a calf. We concluded that male humpback whales associate preferentially with females with high reproductive potential, that the attractiveness of individual females varies with their status (with a calf versus without a calf), that males become progressively less choosy over the course of the reproductive season as females without a calf become increasingly rare on the winter grounds, and that males expend more energy in competition over females without a calf than females with a calf.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    01 January 2002

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • Publisher

    NRC Research Press

  • DOI:

    10.1139/z02-050

  • ISSN:

    0008-4301

Citation

Craig, A. S., Herman, L. M. & Pack, A. A. (2002). Male mate choice and male-male competition coexist in the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Canadian Journal of Zoology. 80, 745-755. doi:10.1139/z02-050. ISSN 0008-4301

Authors

Keywords

Humpback whales; Mating behaviour; Mate selection; Competitive behaviour;

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