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      Resightings of humpback whales in Hawaiian waters over spans of 10-32 years: Site fidelity, sex ratios, calving rates, female demographics, and the dynamics of social and behavioral roles of individuals

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      Marine Mammal Science

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Most cited references 53

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          Mammals in which females are larger than males.

           K Ralls (1976)
          Females are larger than males in more species of mammals than is generally supposed. A provisional list of the mammalian cases is provided. The phenomenon is not correlated with an unusually large degree of male parental investment, polyandry, greater aggressiveness in females than in males, greater development of weapons in females, female dominance, or matriarchy. The phenomenon may have evolved in a variety of ways, but it is rarely, if ever, the result of sexual selection acting upon the female sex. The most common selective pressures favoring large size in female mammals are probably those associated with the fact that a big mother is often a better mother and those resulting from more intense competintion among females for some resource than among males. It appears that, in general, more than one such pressure must affect the females of a species, and that their combined effects must not be countered by even stronger selective pressures favoring large size in males, before the result is that of larger size in the female sex. Sexual selection may often be operating upon the male sux in mammals even when it is smaller. Present knowledge about the species of mammals in which females are lager than males is quite rudimentary. Much more information is needed before we will be able to speak of the selective pressures accounting for the phenomenon with any reasomable degree of certainty. Perhaps the most fruitful approach would be a series of field studies of groups of related species in which females are larger in some species and males are larger in others.
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            Dynamics of two populations of the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski)

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              Genetic tagging of humpback whales.

              The ability to recognize individual animals has substantially increased our knowledge of the biology and behaviour of many taxa. However, not all species lend themselves to this approach, either because of insufficient phenotypic variation or because tag attachment is not feasible. The use of genetic markers ('tags') represents a viable alternative to traditional methods of individual recognition, as they are permanent and exist in all individuals. We tested the use of genetic markers as the primary means of identifying individuals in a study of humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. Analysis of six microsatellite loci among 3,060 skin samples collected throughout this ocean allowed the unequivocal identification of individuals. Analysis of 692 'recaptures', identified by their genotype, revealed individual local and migratory movements of up to 10,000 km, limited exchange among summer feeding grounds, and mixing in winter breeding areas, and also allowed the first estimates of animal abundance based solely on genotypic data. Our study demonstrates that genetic tagging is not only feasible, but generates data (for example, on sex) that can be valuable when interpreting the results of tagging experiments.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Marine Mammal Science
                Wiley-Blackwell
                08240469
                October 2011
                October 2011
                : 27
                : 4
                : 736-768
                Article
                10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00441.x
                © 2011

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