Although the Ziphiidae are the second-most speciose family of cetaceans, information on beaked whale species and populations has been limited by the difficulties in finding and approaching free-ranging individuals. Site fidelity, patterns of association, and movements of two species, Cuvier’s (Ziphius cavirostris) and Blainville’s (Mesoplodon densirostris) beaked whales, were assessed using a 21-yr photographic data set from the west coast of the island of Hawai‘i. Resightings of individuals of both species spanned 15 yr, suggesting long-term site fidelity to the area. Long-term resightings were documented primarily from adult females of both species. Group sizes for both species were small and most groups had only a single adult male present. For Blainville’s beaked whales, repeated associations between adult females and adult males were documented for all resightings of adult males over periods from 1 to 154 d. Among adult females, although repeated associations occurred up to 9 yr apart, individuals were seen separately in intervening years. Individuals of both species seen on multiple occasions were typically documented in multiple months/seasons, suggesting they may use the study area throughout the year. Such long-term site fidelity has implications both for potential population structure and for susceptibility of beaked whale populations to anthropogenic impacts.
McSweeney, D.J., R.W. Baird, and S.D. Mahaffy. 2007. Site Fidelity, Associations and Movements of Cuvier’s (Ziphius cavirostris) and Blainville’s (Mesoplodon densirostris) Beaked Whales off the Island of Hawai’i. Marine Mammal Science 23(3): 666-687. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2007.00135.xDownload PDF
Download Supplemental Materials