Russian Journal of Marine Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 196–198 | Cite as

Asymmetry of pectoral flipper use in the orca Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758) from the Avachinskii Bay (Eastern Kamchatka)

  • A. N. Giljov
  • K. A. Karenina
  • T. V. Ivkovich
  • Y. B. Malashichev


Asymmetrical forelimb use is characteristic of many mammalian species. However, little is known about this phenomenon in cetaceans. We examined the asymmetry in pectoral flipper use by the wild orca Orcinus orca (Linnaeus, 1758). During observations from motor boats in the Avachinskii Bay (East Kamchatka) we recorded the use of flippers in slapping the water by individually identified resident (fish-eating) orcas. The studied individuals mostly used their right flipper. The revealed right-sided bias presumably reflects the pivotal role of the left brain hemisphere in the control of forelimb movements, which is consistent with the data that have been obtained for other cetacean species.


orca motor asymmetry pectoral flipper brain asymmetry lateralization cetaceans 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. N. Giljov
    • 1
  • K. A. Karenina
    • 1
  • T. V. Ivkovich
    • 1
  • Y. B. Malashichev
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Experimental MedicineSt. PetersburgRussia

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