Migratory preferences of humpback whales between feeding and breeding grounds in the eastern South Pacific

Jorge Acevedo*, Anelio Aguayo-lobo, Judith Allen, Natalia Botero-acosta, Juan Capella, Cristina Castro, Luciano Dalla Rosa, Judith Denkinger, Fernando Félix, Lilian Flórez-gonzález, Frank Garita, Héctor M. Guzmán, Ben Haase, Gregory Kaufman, Martha Llano, Carlos Olavarría, Aldo S. Pacheco, Jordi Plana, Kristin Rasmussen, Meike ScheidatEduardo R. Secchi, Sebastian Silva, Peter T. Stevick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Latitudinal preferences within the breeding range have been suggested for Breeding Stock G humpback whales that summer in different feeding areas of the eastern South Pacific. To address this hypothesis, humpback whales photo-identified from the Antarctic Peninsula and the Fueguian Archipelago (southern Chile) were compared with whales photo-identified from lower latitudes extending from northern Peru to Costa Rica. This comparison was performed over a time span that includes 18 austral seasons. A total of 238 whales identified from the Antarctic Peninsula and 25 whales from the Fueguian Archipelago were among those photo-identified at the breeding grounds. Our findings showed that humpback whales from each feeding area were resighted unevenly across the breeding grounds, which suggests a degree of spatial structuring in the migratory pathway. Humpback whales that feed at the
Antarctic Peninsula were more likely to migrate to the southern breeding range
between northern Peru and Colombia, whereas whales that feed at the Fueguian
Archipelago were more likely to be found in the northern range of the breeding
ground off Panama. Further photo-identification efforts and genetic sampling from poorly sampled or unsampled areas are recommended to confirm these reported connectivity patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1052
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • megaptera novaeangliae
  • migratory destinations
  • breeding stock G
  • photo-identifiaction
  • feeding ground
  • Antarctic Peninsula
  • Fueguian Archipelago


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