Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Development of aggressive vocalizations in male southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina): maturation or learning?

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Vocalizations are an important component of male elephant seal agonistic behaviour. Acoustic and behavioural components of vocalizations emitted during agonistic contests show gross differences between young and old males, but the variation with age depends on the specific feature. Vocalizations become more frequent and effective at later ages. Acoustic features that are constrained by structural phenotype, which changes with age, also should change with age, while acoustic features that are independent from structural phenotype should show no relationship with age. We demonstrate that, in southern elephant seals, formant frequencies, which are constrained by the vocal tract length and, therefore, by body size, show a clear decrease with age, whereas temporal and structural features of sounds, which potentially are unconstrained, show no correlation with age. Formants ontogeny seems, therefore, to be mostly the result of body maturation, and hence formants may be reliable signals of age. In contrast, acoustic features such as temporal features and syllable structure, are free to change, and hence may serve as the raw material for vocal learning and individual recognition.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's NL A1B 3X9, Canada, Elephant Seal Research Group, Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands;, Email:; 2: Elephant Seal Research Group, Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands; 3: Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's NL A1B 3X9, Canada


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation