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Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) mother-calf interactions

Abstract : In humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), maintaining social bonds between females and their newborns involves different sensory modalities such as hearing, touching and vision. While acoustic communication in male singers of this species has been extensively studied, social sounds, especially those produced by the females and their newborns have been poorly documented. This study describes the social sounds present in acoustic recordings focused on mother-calf groups and discusses the vocalizations used by females and calves in mother-offspring interactions. By considering the most frequent sounds from their vocal repertoire, an analysis focused on the determination of the source of the low-frequency sounds produced by the mother have been carried out and analyses were performed to investigate the individuality of some vocalizations belonging to the mothers and the calves. A description of the behavioural context of their vocal production was performed and the diving profiles of mother-calf pairs were described. Moreover, females with their calves spend a lot of time on the water surface. Mothers are often static at the surface while calves move around them. This study is also dedicated to the understanding of their surface behaviours, considering the behaviours initiated by calves. A series of analyses were carried out to determine whether calves exhibited lateralization behaviours in relation to their mothers. Finally, by using photogrammetry method, mother-calf lengths were measured, and calves spatial range around their mothers was investigated.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 1:01:24 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 18, 2020 - 9:00:04 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02869389, version 1



Anjara Saloma. Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) mother-calf interactions. Vertebrate Zoology. Université Paris Saclay (COmUE); Université d'Antananarivo, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLS138⟩. ⟨tel-02869389⟩



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