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Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems$
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James Estes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248847

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248847.001.0001

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ContentsFRONT MATTER

The Natural History and Ecology of Killer Whales

Chapter:
(p.163) Thirteen The Natural History and Ecology of Killer Whales
Source:
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems
Author(s):

LANCE G. BARRETT-LENNARD

KATHY A. HEISE

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248847.003.0013

This chapter notes that evidence of the behavioral versatility of killer whales is provided by the wide variety of foraging methods they employ throughout their cosmopolitan range; the correspondingly diverse set of prey species they are known to feed on; the different types of social systems that characterize different populations, interpopulational and in some cases intrapopulational variation in their use of acoustic signals for communication and echolocation, and their well-known ability to learn complex and novel behaviors in captivity. Yet, a predominant feature of killer whales is their conservative nature—they are less innovative than one might expect of a large-brained, socially, and behaviorally sophisticated animal.

Keywords:   killer whale behavior, foraging methods, social systems, echolocation, social animal

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