Whiskers of harbor seals detect prey with spectral sensitivity tuned to the frequency range of fish-generated water movement.
"Harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) can use their whiskers to detect minute water movements. The high sensitivity of this sensory system should allow a seal to gain hydrodynamic information resulting from movements of other aquatic animals, such as prey, predators or conspecifics. Our results show that the whiskers of harbour seals form a hydrodynamic receptor system with a spectral sensitivity that is well tuned to the frequency range of fish-generated water movements." (Dehnhardt et al. 1998:235-236)
"Water movements in the wake of fishes persist for several minutes. Here we show that blindfolded seals can use their whiskers to detect and accurately follow hydrodynamic trails generated by a miniature submarine. This shows that hydrodynamic information can be used for long-distance prey location." (Dehnhardt et al. 2001:102)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Dehnhardt, G; Mauck, B; Bleckmann, H. 1998. Seal whiskers detect water movements. Nature. 394(6690): 235-236.
- Dehnhardt, G; Mauck, B; Hanke, W. 2001. Hydrodynamic trail-following in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). Science. 293(5527): 102-104.
No one has provided updates yet.