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Vocalizations of common minke whales ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) in an eastern North Pacific feeding ground

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Abstract

The minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is the smallest species of baleen whale and has a cosmopolitan distribution. Despite extensive study on the vocalizations of other balaenopterids, the acoustic repertoire of minke whales is not well known. Individuals of the North Pacific subspecies of common minke whale (B. a. scammoni) are known to produce unique vocalizations ("boings") during their putative breeding season from fall to spring. However, no vocalizations have been previously reported for this subspecies in summer feeding grounds. We present four novel call types recorded in the presence of minke whales in Cormorant Channel, in coastal British Columbia, Canada, during the summer of 2012. These calls consist of broadband pulses, tonal wavers, downsweeps, and pulse trains. Calling rates for minke whales in this study region were very low compared to those reported for North Atlantic minke whales on their feeding grounds. We compare our candidate call types with vocalizations described for other minke whale populations and propose predation risk as a cause of the low calling rates observed for minke whales in Cormorant Channel.

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Occurrence of dwarf minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) on the northern Great Barrier Reef
  • P W Arnold
Arnold PW. 1997. Occurrence of dwarf minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Rep Int Whal Comm. 47:419-424.
Marine Mammals of British Columbia. Victoria (BC): Royal BC Museum Handbook
  • Jkb Ford
Ford JKB. 2014. Marine Mammals of British Columbia. Victoria (BC): Royal BC Museum Handbook; p. 460.
Information in support of the identification of critical habitat for transient killer whales (Orcinus orca) off the west coast of Canada
  • Jkb Ford
  • E Stredulinsky
  • J R Towers
  • G M Ellis
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Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) boings detected at the station ALOHA cabled observatory
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