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Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 48(1): 73-85



Killer whales in Chilean Patagonia: additional sightings, behavioural observations, and individual identifications

Verena Häussermann1,2, Jorge Acevedo3, Günter Försterra1,2, Michelle Bailey4 and Anelio Aguayo-Lobo5

1Huinay Scientific Field Station, Casilla 462, Puerto Montt, Chile
2Escuela de Ciencias del Mar, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Avda. Brasil 2950, Valparaíso, Chile
3Centro Regional de Estudios del Cuaternario Fuego-Patagonia y Antártica (Fundación CEQUA), 21 de Mayo 1690, Punta Arenas, Chile
4Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
5Instituto Antártico Chileno, Plaza Muñoz Gamero 1055, Punta Arenas, Chile



Very little is known about the killer whales (Orcinus orca) that frequent the waters of Chilean Patagonia. Even information as to whether identified individuals are visitors or residents of the region is unknown. Here, we report on opportunistically collected observations in this region from 2001 through 2012. Killer whales were observed on 119 separate occasions in group sizes ranging from one to groups of over 50 individuals. We also describe observed behaviour and present a first catalogue of individuals in Chilean Patagonia. We identified 49 individuals, only seven of which were sighted more than once.


Key words:  Orcinus orca, Chilean fjord region, group size, feeding behaviour, photo-identification catalogue


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