The multiple functions of male song within the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) mating system: review, evaluation, and synthesis

  title={The multiple functions of male song within the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) mating system: review, evaluation, and synthesis},
  author={L. M. Herman},
  journal={Biological Reviews},
  • L. Herman
  • Published 1 August 2017
  • Biology
  • Biological Reviews
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are seasonal breeders, annually migrating from high‐latitude summer feeding grounds to low‐latitude winter breeding grounds. The social matrix on the winter grounds is a loose network of interacting individuals and groups and notably includes lone males that produce long bouts of complex song that collectively yield an asynchronous chorus. Occasionally, a male will sing while accompanying other whales. Despite a wealth of knowledge about the social… 
First Look at Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Song Structure from Western South Africa
Humpback whales are known for their complex and well-structured song that is typically produced on low-latitude breeding grounds. However, there is increasing evidence of song production on migration
The conspecific avoidance strategies of adult female-calf humpback whales
The results of this study found that these pairs make only minimal changes to their vocal behavior in response to nearby males, suggesting that they have instead evolved calls that are naturally difficult to detect, resulting in a restricted active space.
Site-specific female-biased sex ratio of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) during a stopover early in the southern migration
The hypothesis that habitat preferences and differential migration of females and males provide a plausible explanation for site-specific sex-bias in breeding grounds, migratory stopovers, and along migratory corridors is supported.
Social Behaviour of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Hervey Bay, Eastern Australia, a Preferential Female Stopover During the Southern Migration
Agonistic competitive social behaviour in humpback whales [Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)] has been extensively studied and reported in previous research. However, non-agonistic social
Fluctuations in Hawaii’s humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae population inferred from male song chorusing off Maui
Approximately half of the North Pacific humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae stock visits the shallow waters of the main Hawaiian Islands seasonally. Within this breeding area, mature males produce
First record of humpback whale songs in Southern Chile: Analysis of seasonal and diel variation
Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) produce complex, patterned songs that are traditionally recorded on their breeding grounds. In this work, we report results from the first continuous
Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Song in Pacific Central America
While on their low-latitude breeding grounds, male humpback whales will sing presumably to advertise to females and (or) males. Individual males sing a series of units in a predictable order, and
Singing in South Africa: monitoring the occurrence of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song near the Western Cape
ABSTRACT Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are highly vocal, producing a wide repertoire of sounds often organised into song. Song is prolific at breeding sites but also documented along
Humpback whale song recordings suggest common feeding ground occupation by multiple populations
Humpback whale males are known to sing on their low-latitude breeding grounds, but it is well established that songs are also commonly produced ‘off-season’ on the feeding grounds or during


Humpback whale song: who sings?
A broad participation of males as a lekking aggregation and the asynchronous singing chorus is interpreted as an instance of by-product mutualism, which yields a heightened signal level that may attract more females to the singing area.
The Nature of Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Song
It is postulates that sexual selection in humpback whales may have both a physical and cognitive fitness component.
Humpback whale songs: Do they organize males during the breeding season?
It is hypothesized that the song organizes males by providing, through its characteristics of continuous change and adoption of these changes by all nearby singers, a real time measure of association between individuals, possibly providing a means of reciprocity for mutual assistance in mating.
Vocal activity levels of many terrestrial species vary with diel light cycles. Recent studies have documented this pattern for a number of marine mammal species as well. However, previous studies of
Aggressive behavior between humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering in Hawaiian waters
Repeated observations of individually identified whales indicate that escorting and singing are interchangeable reproductive roles of mature males, and incidents of aggression show a seasonal increase and decrease that parallel changes in abundance and average abundance.
The social and reproductive biology of Humpback Whales: an ecological perspective
The widespread distribution of females resulting from absence of both predation and resources during the breeding season preclude simultaneous monopolization by males of more than one potential mate, and these factors, together with a male-biased operational sex ratio, minimize the possibility of competition among females.
The song of the Brazilian population of Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae, in the year 2000: individual song variations and possible implications.
The song of the Brazilian population of the Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae was studied in its breeding and calving ground, the Abrolhos Bank, Bahia, Brazil, from July to November 2000, and registered the appearance of a note type and the disappearance of a phrase ending, which indicate that the song changed as the season progressed.
The song of the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae in the West Indies
Songs of the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae were recorded and analyzed from Grand Turks in the Bahamas to Venezuela and it is suggested that songs from other populations are quite different.
Sex differences in site fidelity and migration of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to the Hawaiian Islands
To investigate gender-related site fidelity to the Hawaiian Islands, an important wintering area for North Pacific humpback whales, photographically based resight histories of 224 females and 416 males observed in Hawai'i from 1976 through 1991 indicated that the mean number of years in which they were seen was higher for males than for females.