Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia
versión ISSN 0718-686X
CAPELLA, Juan; GALLETTI VERNAZZANI, Bárbara; GIBBONS, Jorge y CABRERA, Elsa. COASTAL MIGRATORY CONNECTIONS OF HUMPBACK WHALES, MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE BOROWSKI, 1781, IN SOUTHERN CHILE. Anales Instituto Patagonia (Chile) [online]. 2008, vol.36, n.2, pp. 13-18. ISSN 0718-686X. doi: 10.4067/S0718-686X2008000200002.
There is not published information on a comparative analysis about interchange of individual humpback whales between coastal areas of aggregation of the species along southern Chilean coast. Here we present a comparison of individually photo-identified humpback whales obtained off northwestern Chiloé Island, in Patagonian and Fuegian fjords and in the Strait of Magellan near Carlos III Island , to discover movements and interchange of individuals. Comparison of photographs resulted in conclusive matches of four individuals within the four study locations: two whales from Canal Wide (49°55'S, 74°30'W), one whale from Canal Cockburn (54°18'S, 72°15'W) and a mother-calf pair off northwestern Chiloé Island matched whales found near Carlos III. The minimum linear distance between these summering locations are approximately 80 km from Canal Cockburn to Carlos III, 540 km from Carlos III to Canal Wide, and 1300 km from Carlos III to northwestern Chiloé Island. The trip from Chiloé Island to Strait of Magellan during 38 days in the same summer season represented a minimum mean speed of transit of 34 km/day. This study provides the first evidence of direct connection of individual humpback whales along the coast of southern Chile.
Palabras clave : humpback whales; Chile; cetaceans.