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Inter-island call/whistle matching


The home range of the Canary Island short-finned pilot whales still remains unknown but among researchers it is believed that groups roam at least between the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. The distance between both areas is about 60 km and for pilot whales it would be no problem to travel such distances. Own research ( suggests that short-finned pilot whales use group-specific call repertoires. When this is the case, specific call types could be attributed to specific groups and the following call type match could prove that groups travel between islands.

Acknowledgement: The La Gomera sound recording was kindly provided by Samyo Jürgen Hoheisel. His recordings were made within the framework of research activities of M.E.E.R. La Gomera ( . Many thanks to Fabian Ritter.

Tenerife calls

This call type was recorded on 31 August and 15 September 1996 about 2 miles southwest off Tenerife, Canary Islands. The call is about 0.8 seconds in duration and has a pulsed part in the beginning and ends up with a tonal section. During both recording session this call type occurred repetitively. The following sound example contains several examples of this call type in row and is a compression of a longer track. This call type has a very metallic sound and the emitting animal(s?) are relatively close to the recording hydrophone.

Foto Click to hear a call type recorded off Tenerife in 1996 (.mp3 file with 0.3 MB) matching a call type recorded off La Gomera in 2006.

La Gomera calls


This call type was recorded on an unkown date in 2006 about 2-3 miles southwest off La Gomera. This call type shows the same spectrographic features as that one recorded off Tenerife. This call as well occurred several times during the recording session. Because the whales are not that close to the recording hydrophone and due to differences in recording equipment, the sound character is slightly different. Nevertheless, these calls have as well a metallic sound character. The following sound example is a compression of the original sound track.

Foto Click to hear a call type recorded off La Gomera in 2006 (.mp3 file with 0.6 MB) matching a call type recorded off Tenerife in 1996.