Multiple pulses can often be distinguished in the clicks of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Norris and Harvey [in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 (1972), pp. 397–417] proposed that this results from reflections within the head, and thus that interpulse interval (IPI) is an indicator of head length, and by extrapolation, total length. For this idea to hold, IPIs must be stable within individuals, but differ systematically among individuals of different size. IPI stability was examined in photographically identified individuals recorded repeatedly over different dives, days, and years. IPI variation among dives in a single day and days in a single year was statistically significant, although small in magnitude (it would change total length estimates by <3%). As expected, IPIs varied significantly among individuals. Most individuals showed significant increases in IPIs over several years, suggesting growth. Mean total lengths calculated from published IPI regressions were 13.1 to 16.1 m, longer than photogrammetric estimates of the same whales (12.3 to 15.3 m). These discrepancies probably arise from the paucity of large (12–16 m) whales in data used in published regressions. A new regression is offered for this size range.

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