Endangered Species Research authors suggest existence of unknown Whale Population
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity
- In a paper published in the journal Endangered Species Research, authors described a new whale song, suggesting the existence of a population that was previously unknown.
- Researchers have recorded the unique song off the coast of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea, off the western Chagos Archipalego, and off Madagascar in the southwestern Indian Ocean.
- Since it is the only blue whale song identified by them in the western Arabian Sea, researchers have called it the “Northwest Indian Ocean”.
- Researchers believe the source is either the blue whale or Bryde’s whale since both species have been documented off Oman previously.
- Significance: Given that this song-type has not been reported before, the presence of it across a large geographic region indicates the likely existence of a previously undefined population of blue whales in the Western Indian Ocean.
Do you know?
- Not all whales sing.
- Only some, such as the baleen whale, have been found to sing songs.
- Whales use songs to communicate and socialise.
- Their songs can be characterised as clicks, whistles and pulsed calls or a composition of “moans, snores, chirps and cries”.
- Whales use clicks to navigate and identify their surroundings as the sound bounces off objects, helping whales determine their shapes.
- These use whistles and pulses during social activities.
- Their songs can last between 6-35 minutes, and some individual whales have been found to sing for 22 hours.
- Whale songs are typically below 4 kHz in frequency, thus being inaudible to human ears.
- Human hearing range is between 20 Hz to 20 kHz.