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Abstract: Respiration rates can be used as important indices of health and welfare in animal subjects. In the present study, the respiration rates of captive beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) (N = 55) were found to be influenced by season (winter-spring rates > summer-fall rates), sex (males > females), age (calves > adults), and body size (smaller adults > larger adults). Significant inter-actions among these terms were also found for season-by-sex and season-by-age. Additionally, the respiration rates of beluga calves gradually declined to the point where they equaled their mothers by 3 y of age, the same age that other cetaceans achieve mature dive physiology.
Key Words: beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, calf development, body size, seasonal differences, respiration rate, age differences
Document Type: Research article
Page Numbers: 350-356