Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 97–114 | Cite as

The song of the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae in the West Indies

  • H. E. Winn
  • L. K. Winn
Article

Abstract

Songs of the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae were recorded and analyzed from Grand Turks in the Bahamas to Venezuela. The design features of the song are as follows. The basic song evolves through a series of different sounds in a fixed order. The song is produced only in the winter tropical calving grounds, just before the whales arrive on the banks. Redundancy is high in that syllables, motifs, phrases and the entire song are repeated. Low, intermediate, and high-frequency sounds are scattered throughout the song. One sound is associated with blowing. The song appears to be partially different each year and there are some differences within a year between banks which may indicate that dialects are present. It is suggested that songs from other populations are quite different. The apparent yearly changes do not occur at one point in time. Only single individuals produce the song and they are hypothesized to be young, sexually mature males. The implications of these various design features are discussed.

Keywords

Design Feature Single Individual Mature Male Venezuela Yearly Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Hartshorne, C.: Born to sing, 304 pp. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press 1973Google Scholar
  2. Hudnall, J.: In the company of great whales. Audubon Mag. 79 (3), 62–73 (1977)Google Scholar
  3. Kibblewhite, A.C., R.N. Denham, and D.J. Barnes: Unusual low-frequency signals observed in New Zealand waters. J. acoust. Soc. Am. 41, 644–655 (1967)Google Scholar
  4. Levenson, C. and W.T. Leapley: Humpback whale distribution in the eastern Caribbean determined acoustically from an oceanographic aircraft, 6 pp. Navoceano Technical Note No. 3700-46-76 (1976). (Copies available from the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Washington, D.C.)Google Scholar
  5. Marler, P. and W.J. Hamilton III: Mechanisms of animal behavior, 771 pp. New York: J. Wiley & Sons 1966Google Scholar
  6. Nordhoff, C.: Whaling and fishing, 383 pp. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co. 1856Google Scholar
  7. Payne, K. and R. Payne: Annual changes in songs of humpback whales. Z. Tierpsychol. (In press)Google Scholar
  8. Payne R.: The song of the whale. In: The marvels of animal behavior, pp 144–166. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society 1972Google Scholar
  9. — and S. McVay: Songs of humpback whales. Science, N.Y., 173, 583–597 (1971)Google Scholar
  10. — and D. Webb: Orientation by means of long range acoustic signalling in baleen whales. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 188, 110–141 (1971)Google Scholar
  11. Perkins, P.J.: Passive sonar aids deep-sea research on TRIDENT. Undersea Technol. 7, 36–37 (1966)Google Scholar
  12. Shiovitz, D.A.: The process of species-specific song recognition by the indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea, and its relationship to the organization of avian acoustical behavior. Behaviour 55, 128–179 (1975)Google Scholar
  13. Thompson, T.J. and H.E. Winn: Temporal aspects of the humpback whale song. In: Abstracts of Papers Presented at the Animal Behavior Society Meeting at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, p. 147. 1977. (Copies available from the authors)Google Scholar
  14. Thorpe, W.H.: Birdsong: the biology of vocal communication and expression in birds, 112 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1961Google Scholar
  15. Tomilin, A.G.: Mammals of the U.S.S.R. and adjacent countries. Vol. IX. Cetacea, U.S. Government Printing Office: 1967. [Translated from Russian by the Israel Program for Scientific translations, Translation No. 1124. (Copies available from: Clearinghouse, Spring-field, Virgina)]Google Scholar
  16. Winn, H.E.: Geographic variation and behavioral correlates of the call of the humpback whale. In: Abstracts of Papers Presented at the Animal Behavior Society Meeting at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, p. 98. 1974. (Copies available from the authors)Google Scholar
  17. — Dialects and social organization of the humpback whale (Abstract). In: Conference on biology and conservation of marine mammals, p. 48. California: University of California Santa Cruz 1975. (Copies available from the authors)Google Scholar
  18. —, W.L. Bischoff and A.G. Taruski: Cytological sexing of Cetacea. Mar. Biol. 23, 343–346 (1973)Google Scholar
  19. — P.J. Perkins and T.C. Poulter: Sounds of the humpback whale. Proc. a Conf. biol. Sonar 7, 39–52 (1970). (Menlo Park, California: Stanford Research Institute)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. E. Winn
    • 1
  • L. K. Winn
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

Personalised recommendations