Communication and Perception
Fin whales, like blue whales, communicate through vocalizations. Fin whales produce low frequency sounds that range from 16 to 40 Hz, outside of the hearing range of humans. They also produce 20 Hz pulses (both single and patterned pulses), ragged low-frequency pluses and rumbles, and non-vocal sharp impulse sounds. Single frequencies (non-patterned pulses) last between 1 and 2 minutes while patterned calling can last for up to 15 minutes. The patterned pulses may be repeated for many days.
Higher frequency sounds have been recorded and are believed to be used for communications between nearby fin whales and other pods. These high frequencies may communicate information about local food availability. The 20 Hz single pulses help whales communicate with both local and long distances members and patterned 20 Hz pulses are associated with courtship displays.
A study done about the sound frequencies of fin whales suggest that whales use counter-calling in order to get information about their surroundings. Counter-calling is when one whale of a pod calls and another answers. The information conveyed by the time it takes to answer as well as the echo of the answer is believed to hold a lot of important information about the whale’s surroundings.
Communication Channels: acoustic
Other Communication Modes: choruses
Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic ; ultrasound
- McDonlad, M., J. Hildebrand, S. Webb. 1995. Blue and Fin Whales Observed on Seafloor Array in the Northeast Pacific. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 98/2: 712-721.
- 2006. "Finback Whales, Bioacoustics Research Program" (On-line). Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Accessed April 09, 209 at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/brp/listen-to-project-sounds/fin-whales.