Marine Technology Society Journal (2005)

DOI: 10.4031/002533205787443980


To observe the bio-sonar behavior of dolphins and porpoises, a miniature stereo acoustic data logger was developed to record the echolocation clicks of small cetaceans. The ‘A-tag’ device is small enough to be attached to a dolphin or porpoise. A-tag can record the sonar pulse intensity, precise inter-click-intervals, and time difference between sounds arriving at two different hydrophones. The A-tag works for up to 60 hours continuously and allows observation of the sonar target range of free-ranging odontocetes. The time of arrival at the two hydrophones on the tag allows vocalizations from nearby individuals to be identified. A less invasive tagging technique using a suction cup was also developed. A mean attachment time of 15 hours was obtained on free-ranging finless porpoises in a freshwater system in China. The A-tag proved to be a useful tool for investigating the underwater echolocation behavior of odontocetes.