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Craig, A. S., Herman, L. M., and Pack, A. A. 2002. Male mate choice and
male-male competition coexist in the humpback whale (Megaptera
novaeangliae). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80: 745-755.
Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) outnumber females on the
winter grounds and compete physically for proximity to females. Analyses
of identification photographs collected in Hawai'i from 1976 through 1995
and scan samples collected in 1998 showed that (i) reproductive potential
(calving rate) for the following winter was greater for females without a
calf than females with a calf, (ii) females without a calf were less
likely to be found alone and more likely to be found in large pods than
females with a calf, (iii) individual females were found in larger pods
when without a calf than when with a calf, (iv) the probability of females
with a calf being escorted by one or more males increased as the
reproductive season progressed, and (v) head lunges occurred more commonly
in all-adult pods than in pods containing a calf. We concluded that male
humpback whales associate preferentially with females with high
reproductive potential, that the attractiveness of individual females
varies with their status (with a calf versus without a calf), that males
become progressively less choosy over the course of the reproductive
season as females without a calf become increasingly rare on the winter
grounds, and that males expend more energy in competition over females
without a calf than females with a calf.
Alison S. Craig, PhD
Research Associate, Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory, Honolulu.
Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, Napier University, 10 Colinton Road,
Edinburgh, EH10 5DT, Scotland, UK.
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