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Keywords:

  • humpback whales;
  • Megaptera novaeangliae ;
  • Magellan Strait;
  • site fidelity;
  • feeding area;
  • eastern South Pacific

Abstract

We investigated sex-related site fidelity by humpback whales to the Fueguian Archipelago, a new feeding area in the eastern South Pacific, by examining the resighting histories of 45 males and 39 females recorded from 2003 to 2012. Results indicated an overall annual return to the feeding area of 74.8%, and annual sex ratio is roughly equal in the population. The probability of an individual being resighted across years and in subsequent years was not significantly different for both males and females, however, the proportion of resighting within a year was significantly higher for individual males compared to females. Potential sources of sex-related bias were analyzed, but none were found to be significant. Greater intraannual resighting frequency for males may reflect sex-based differences in spatial occupation and short-range movements due to potential differences in energy budgets.