Further studies of the role of harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) pup vocalizations in preventing separat

Elizabeth A. Perry and Deane. Department of Psychology and Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF, Canada AlB 3X9
Canadian Journal of Zoology. 66: 934 - 938. 1987
Abstract: Calls of harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) pups, propagated simultaneously in air and underwater while the pups' heads were above the surface of the water, were recorded to examine in detail the differences between them and to determine if both versions are individually distinct. Although the airborne and underwater versions of the calls were different from one another, they were distinct for each pup on the basis of several physical parameters, primarily the frequency of the major harmonic. Interactions between the mothers and pups at the time of calling were observed to assess the role of the cries in maintaining mother-pup contact. Analysis of the variations in vocalizations and contextual data supported the hypothesis that the mothers use these vocalizations for individual recognition of their offspring and for ensuring that contact with them is maintained. It is postulated that differences between the aerial and underwater versions of calls increase the accuracy with which the mothers can locate their pups



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