Intra- and intergroup vocal behavior in resident killer whales, Orcinus orca.


Vocal communication within and between groups of individuals has been described extensively in birds and terrestrial mammals, however, little is known about how cetaceans utilize their sounds in their natural environment. Resident killer whales, Orcinus orca, live in highly stable matrilines and exhibit group-specific vocal dialects. Single call types cannot exclusively be associated with particular behaviors and calls are thought to function in group identification and intragroup communication. In the present study call usage of three closely related matrilines of the Northern resident community was compared in various intra- and intergroup contexts. In two out of the three matrilines significant changes in vocal behavior depending both on the presence and identity of accompanying whales were found. Most evidently, family-specific call subtypes, as well as aberrant and variable calls, were emitted at higher rates, whereas "low arousal" call types were used less in the presence of matrilines from different pods, subclans, or clans. Ways in which the observed changes may function both in intra- and intergroup communication.

DOI: 10.1121/1.2799907

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@article{Weiss2007IntraAI, title={Intra- and intergroup vocal behavior in resident killer whales, Orcinus orca.}, author={Brigitte M. von Weiss and Helena Symonds and Paul Spong and Friedrich Ladich}, journal={The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America}, year={2007}, volume={122 6}, pages={3710-6} }