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

Associations with multiple male groups increase the energy expenditure of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) female and calf pairs on the breeding grounds

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

In mammalian mating systems, where operational sex ratios are male skewed and males must compete for access to females, increased levels of male attention may amount to harassment of females and their offspring. To evaluate how male associations affect the behaviour of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) female and calf pairs in breeding regions, we compiled time budgets and monitored calf breathing regimes for females with calves in a range of associations, with (N = 71) and without (N = 19) males, in Hawaiian waters. We found that, while associations with a single male did not significantly change the behaviour of female–calf pairs, associations with multiple males led to increases in the time spent traveling (median increase 35%; p < 0.001) and decreases in time spent at rest (median decrease 29%; p < 0.001). Additionally, calves spent less time at the surface (median decrease from 10% to 0; p < 0.001) and the frequency of intermittent breaths between dives increased (median increase from 16 to 22%; p = 0.006). We show that these behavioural changes would require increased energy expenditure, which could impact calf fitness, and we speculate that the association between a female–calf pair and single male escort comprises a female counterstrategy that offsets male harassment, consistent with Mesnick's (1997) bodyguard hypothesis.

Affiliations: 1: The Keiki Kohola Project, Lahaina, HI, USA, Department of Biology, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, USA;, Email:; 2: Behavioural and Environmental Biology, School of Biology, Chemistry and Health Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD, UK


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