Humpback whales use “whisper” to avoid killer whales.
Newborn humpback whales “whisper” to their mothers that they are not heard orcas, the researchers found.
The study is published in the journal Functional Ecology.
Environmentalists Denmark and Australia used the timestamps on the mothers and their pups in the Gulf of Exmouth in Western Australia to learn more about the first months of life of humpback whales. Together with colleagues from Murdoch University scientists tagged eight calves and two mothers. To capture weak sounds newborns, they used special tags developed by the University of St Andrews. These tags are attached to whales using suction cups and record the sounds of whales and heard them with their movements for 48 hours before removing for swimming on the surface.
The study showed that mothers spend a considerable amount of time grooming and resting. Records also showed that newborn Humpbacks communicate with their mothers using the intimate grunting and creaking away from the loud, haunting songs of the male humpback. This quiet helps to reduce the risk that nearby will meet orcas.
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