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How Do Whales Communicate

Whales are large marine mammals that live in the oceans of the world. There are two distinct types of whales, the toothed whales which include killer whales, dolphins, porpoises, sperm whale, pilot whale and the beluga whale. The second type of whale is the baleen whales; this includes species such as blue whale, humpback whale, bowhead whale and minke whale. Whales all have two large fins and a fluke tail. Whales also have the characteristic blowhole on the top of the head. Whales range in size from 11ft to 115ft long.

Communication between Whales
Methods of communication differ between whale’s species. Some whale species particularly baleen whales, such as the Humpback whale, communicate via melodic tones and clicks which we know as a whale song. These tones can be quite loud and piecing. These tones and clicks are also used as echolocation and allow the whale to find and identify objects and animals around them.

Toothed whales rely solely on high pitched clicks and whistles to communicate and for echolocation. Toothed whales do not produce the tones and melodies that have been observed in baleen whales. The high-pitched clicks and whistles are created within a cavity in the whales head and come out of the blowhole. Some have such a high pitch that the human ear cannot hear them at all.

Whales also use body language to communicate with other whales. A sharp release of air from the blowhole is a warning to other whales not to approach to closely. Whales also slap their pectoral fins and tails when excited or aggravated. Some male whales will head butt one another as a show of strength. Breeching can also be a form of communication. It sends the message that the whale has great strength. It also allows the whale to communicate its location over a long distance.

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