Otariid seals (fur seals and sea lions) are colonial breeders with large numbers of females giving birth on land during a synchronous breeding period. Once pups are born, females alternate between feeding their young ashore and foraging at sea. Upon return, both mother and pup must relocate each other and it is thought to be primarily facilitated by vocal recognition. Vocalizations of thirteen female Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) were recorded during the breeding seasons of December 2000 and 2001, when pups are aged from newborns to one month. The pup attraction call was examined to determine whether females produce individually distinct calls which could be used by pups as a basis for vocal recognition. Potential for individual coding, discriminant function analysis (DFA), and classification and regression tree analysis were used to determine which call features were important in separating individuals. Using the results from all three analyses: F0, MIN F and DUR were considered important in separating individuals. In 76% of cases, the PAC was classified to the correct caller, using DFA, suggesting that there is sufficient stereotypy within individual calls, and sufficient variation between them, to enable vocal recognition by pups of this species.

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