Mother knows best : occurrence and associations of resighted humpback whales suggest maternally derived fidelity to a Southern Hemisphere coastal feeding ground

Show simple item record Barendse, Jaco Best, Peter B. Carvalho, Ines Pomilla, Cristina 2014-05-12T12:59:22Z 2014-05-12T12:59:22Z 2013-12-09
dc.description.abstract Site fidelity is common among migratory cetaceans, including humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). In the Northern Hemisphere it has been found that fidelity to humpback whale feeding grounds is transferred maternally but this has never been shown for the species in the Southern Hemisphere. We examined this in a unique feeding area off west South Africa using resighting data of 68 individually identified humpback whales by means of photographic (tail flukes and dorsal fins) and/or molecular methods (microsatellite genotyping) over an 18 year span. We found short-term association patterns and recurrent visits typical of other feeding grounds. Males and females had different seasonality of attendance. Significant female-dominated presence corresponded to timing of an expected influx of females on their southward migration from the breeding ground: firstly non-nursing (possibly pregnant) females in mid-spring, and mothers and calves in mid-to late summer. The potential benefit of this mid-latitude feeding area for females is illustrated by a record of a cow with known age of at least 23 years that produced calves in three consecutive years, each of which survived to at least six months of age: the first record of successful post-partum ovulation for this species in the Southern Hemisphere. We recorded association of a weaned calf with its mother, and a recurring association between a non-lactating female and male over more than two years. Moreover, three animals first identified as calves returned to the same area in subsequent years, sometimes on the same day as their mothers. This, together with numerous Parent-Offspring relations detected genetically among and between resighted and non-resighted whales is strongly suggestive of maternally derived site fidelity at a small spatial scale by a small sub-population of humpback whales. en_US
dc.description.librarian am2014 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship The National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa (grant number 2047517); PADI Project AWARE (UK) (small grant number 095); Earthwatch Institute (project title ‘‘Whales of South Africa’’). NRF, the Society for Marine Mammalogy, University of Pretoria, and the Wildlife Society of South Africa (Charles Astley Maberley Memorial Fund) en_US
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.identifier.citation Barendse J, Best PB, Carvalho I, Pomilla C (2013) Mother Knows Best: Occurrence and Associations of Resighted Humpback Whales Suggest Maternally Derived Fidelity to a Southern Hemisphere Coastal Feeding Ground. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81238. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081238 en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0081238
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_US
dc.rights © 2013 Barendse et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License en_US
dc.subject Fidelity en_US
dc.subject Southern hemisphere en_US
dc.subject Feeding en_US
dc.subject Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) en_US
dc.subject Maternal influence en_US
dc.title Mother knows best : occurrence and associations of resighted humpback whales suggest maternally derived fidelity to a Southern Hemisphere coastal feeding ground en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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