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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

The Natural History and Ecology of Killer Whales

The Natural History and Ecology of Killer Whales

(p.163) Thirteen The Natural History and Ecology of Killer Whales
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems



University of California Press

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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