Why do humpback whales breach? Print E-mail

I'm still not sure why whales do this, but I have a number of guesses. It may be that the huge splashing sound is used to communicate with other whales, especially when there is a lot of other noise underwater. Or perhaps the whales are trying to knock off crustatceans and other parasites attached to their body. I have seen sea lice and skin flakes in the water after a humpback has breached. Perhaps the whales are peeling off itchy, subburnt skin? I think breaching may be a demonstration of prowess, and that it could play some role in courting rituals. I have seen whales feeding here in Bermuda on upwellings and breaching and then other whales coming from the other side of Bermuda to the feeding area. It makes sense that if one whale finds a good feeding area he would transmit that knowledge to others in the expectation that other whales would also inform him when they find a good feeding area. One of the most popular ideas is that whales breach simply for the fun of it. Most likely, breaching serves many different purposes that vary depending on the species and situation.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 April 2008 20:03 )
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