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Killer whales orcinus orca chasing gray whales eschrichtius robustus in the northern bering sea






Arctic 36(4): 361-364

Killer whales orcinus orca chasing gray whales eschrichtius robustus in the northern bering sea

For 90 min 16 killer whales (O. orca) were observed approaching and then chasing gray whales (E. robustus) in the Bering Sea north of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska [USA]. The killer whales swam in 4 discrete lines that blew synchronously as they approached an area in which gray whales were feeding. Once in the gray whales' feeding area, the killer whales broke into small groups and dispersed. The gray whales, which had been dispersed while feeding, formed groups of 3-6 and swam away from the killer whales, except for 1 individual. That whale was pursued by 4 killer whales swimming nearly abreast in a loose crescent formation with .apprx. 300 m between individuals. Although a sonobuoy was deployed throughout the observation period, no sounds were recorded from either species. The absence of whale sounds raises questions about how the whales detected one another and communicated between nearby conspecifics.

Accession: 005779633

DOI: 10.2307/40509596

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