Sperm whale clicks: directionality and source level revisited.

  title={Sperm whale clicks: directionality and source level revisited.},
  author={Bertel M{\o}hl and Magnus Wahlberg and Peter Teglberg Madsen and Lee A. Miller and Annemarie Surlykke},
  journal={The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America},
  volume={107 1},
In sperm whales (Physeter catodon L. 1758) the nose is vastly hypertrophied, accounting for about one-third of the length or weight of an adult male. Norris and Harvey [in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 (1972), pp. 397-417] ascribed a sound-generating function to this organ complex. A sound generator weighing upward of 10 tons and with a cross-section of 1 m is expected to generate high-intensity, directional sounds. This prediction from the Norris and Harvey theory is not… 

Figures and Tables from this paper


Sperm whale recordings collected in the Mediterranean Sea with a towed array and digital tags were used to describe the temporal and spectral characteristics of trumpets, a series of repeated units made of an amplitude modulated tonal waveform with a complex harmonic structure.

Sound production in neonate sperm whales (L)

It is demonstrated that sperm whale clicks are produced at the anterior placed monkey lips, thereby substantiating a key point in the modified Norris and Harvey theory and supporting the unifying theory of sound production in odontocetes.

The monopulsed nature of sperm whale clicks.

On-axis click properties support previous work proposing the nose of sperm whales to operate as a generator of sound.

Sperm whales (Physeter catodon L. 1758) do not react to sounds from detonators.

A number of observations show that sperm whales (Physeter catodon L. 1758) react to various man-made pulses with moderate source levels. The behavioral responses are described to vary from silence to

Vocal behavior of male sperm whales: why do they click?

The results of this study suggest that usual clicks and creaks are both used for echolocation purposes, the former to gather information about acoustically reflective features and the latter to detect prey.

Measuring sperm whales from their clicks: stability of interpulse intervals and validation that they indicate whale length.

As expected, IPIs varied significantly among individuals, and most individuals showed significant increases in IPIs over several years, suggesting growth.

Male sperm whale acoustic behavior observed from multipaths at a single hydrophone.

The authors propose a passive acoustic technique requiring only one hydrophone to investigate the acoustic behavior of free-ranging sperm whales, and suggest that sperm whales might, like some small odontocetes, control click level and rhythm.

Variation in sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) coda vocalizations and social structure in the North Atlantic Ocean

This study aimed at complementing studies of sperm whale social and vocal behaviour that were restricted to the Pacific Ocean. The characteristic multi-pulsed structure of sperm whale clicks allows

The function of male sperm whale slow clicks in a high latitude habitat: communication, echolocation, or prey debilitation?

Some slow clicks were emitted in seemingly repetitive temporal patterns supporting the hypothesis that the function for slow clicks on the feeding grounds is long range communication between males, possibly relaying information about individual identity or behavioral states.



Sperm whales (Physeter catodon L. 1758) do not react to sounds from detonators.

A number of observations show that sperm whales (Physeter catodon L. 1758) react to various man-made pulses with moderate source levels. The behavioral responses are described to vary from silence to

Evaluation of a method for determining the length of sperm whales (Physeter catodon) from their vocalizations

Variability in IPIs in the clicks of a single whale is acceptably low though there is a tendency for low and high values to occur in runs, and there is no clear trend for IPI to alter significantly with the whale's depth or with the time since leaving the surface.

a Theory for the Function of the Spermaceti Organ of the Sperm Whale (physeter Catodon L)

The function ofThe spermaceti organ of the sperm whale is studied using a model of its acoustic system to allow sound signal production especially useful for long range echolocofion in the deep sea.

Time and frequency domain characteristics of sperm whale clicks.

The frequencies at which the multiples emerge in male and female clicks supports the idea of air cavities in the sperm whale head acting as sound reflectors, although the magnitude of the second pulse at high frequencies suggests some form of off axis distortion.

Source level and bistatic target strength of the sperm whale (Physeter catodon) measured from an oceanographic aircraft

Sounds produced and reflected by sperm whales (Physeter catodon) have been recorded by a sonobuoy array deployed from an oceanographic aircraft and analyzed for source level and target strength. Mean

Airborne Measurements of the Acoustic Characteristics of a Sperm Whale

Target strengths of a submerged target, believed to be a sperm whale, Physeter catodon, were measured with the use of a calibrated passive sonobuoy and explosive charges. Measurements of 148 sperm

Measurement of echolocation signals of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus Montagu, in open waters.

The echlocation signals of two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were measured while the animals were involved in a target‐detection experiment conducted in open waters. The time

Accuracy of distance measurement in the bat Eptesicus fuscus: theoretical aspects and computer simulations.

It is shown that Simmons' experiments cannot be treated as a simple estimation of distance, but require at least two or four echolocation sounds for one decision, and the performance of the bat in both experiments is much worse than predicted for a coherent and a semicoherent receiver type.

Positioning accuracy of a large‐aperture hydrophone array for sperm whale research

Source positioning accuracy of a large‐aperture (1 km) hydrophone array was investigated, using 2‐D and 3‐D algorithms. The array was used for positioning and SL determination of sperm whales off the

Distinctive vocalizations from mature male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)

Groups of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were tracked acoustically off the Galapagos Islands between February and April 1985. In total, 716 h were spent in visual or acoustic contact with th...