Short first click intervals in echolocation trains of three species of deep diving odontocetes. Academic Article uri icon


  • All odontocetes produce echolocation clicks as part of their vocal repertoire. In this paper the authors analysed inter-click-intervals in recordings from suction cup tags with a focus on the first inter-click interval of each click train. The authors refer to shorter first inter-click intervals as short first intervals (SFIs). The authors found that the context of SFI occurrence varies across three deep-diving species. In Blainville's beaked whales, 87% of click trains that were preceded by a terminal buzz started with SFIs. In Cuvier's beaked whales, only sub-adult animals produced notable amounts of SFIs. In contrast, sperm whales were much more likely to produce SFIs on the first click train of a dive. While the physiological and/or behavioural reasons for SFI click production are unknown, species differences in their production could provide a window into the evolution of odontocete echolocation.

publication date

  • February 2017