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Publication on killer whale vocal communication

Subject: Publication on killer whale vocal communication
From: Volker Deecke <>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 09:06:34 -0800
<tt>The following article was recently published in the online edition of 
 the journal Animal Behaviour:</tt><br>
 <tt>Deecke, V. B., Slater, P. J. B. & Ford, J. K. B. 2005. The vocal 
 behaviour of mammal-eating killer whales (Orcinus orca): Communicating 
 with costly calls. Animal Behaviour, 
 The cost of vocal behaviour is usually expressed in energetic terms; 
 however, many animals pay additional costs arising from predators or 
 potential prey eavesdropping on their vocal communication. The 
 northeastern Pacific is home to two distinct ecotypes of killer whales 
 (Orcinus orca): resident killer whales feed on fish, a prey with poor 
 hearing abilities, whereas transient killer whales hunt marine mammals, 
 which have sensitive underwater hearing at the frequencies of killer 
 whale vocal communication. In this study, we investigated how the 
 superior hearing ability of their prey has shaped the vocal behaviour of 
 the transient ecotype. We recorded pulsed calls and the associated 
 behavioural context of groups of transient and resident killer whales in 
 British Columbia and southeastern Alaska. Transient killer whales 
 emitted pulsed calls significantly less frequently than residents. 
 Transient killer whales only exhibited significant amounts of vocal 
 behaviour after a marine mammal kill or when the whales where displaying 
 surface-active behaviour. Vocal activity of transients increased after a 
 successful attack on a marine mammal. Since marine mammals are able to 
 detect killer whale pulsed calls and respond with anti-predator 
 behaviour, the reduced vocal activity of transients is probably due to a 
 greater cost for calling in this ecotype resulting from eavesdropping by 
 potential prey. The increase in vocal behaviour after a successful 
 attack may represent food calling (informing other animals in the area 
 about the presence of food), but is more likely to reflect an increase 
 in social interactions during feeding and/or the fact that the cost for 
 vocal behaviour is comparatively low after a successful attack.</tt><br>
 predator-prey interaction; predator-prey coevolution; vocal activity; 
 vocal communication; vocal behaviour; eavesdropping; killer whale; 
 Orcinus orca; Northeast Pacific; hearing</tt><br>
 <tt>For further information please contact Volker Deecke 
 <[EMAIL PROTECTED]></tt><br>

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