News Round-Up

Pilot whale study reveals copycat calls to outsmart predators


New Curtin University research has found southern Australian long-finned pilot whales are able to mimic the calls of its natural predator and food rival – the killer whale, as a possible ploy to outsmart it.

The study is the first published research analysing the calls of long-finned pilot whales in the Southern Hemisphere, which were recorded in the Great Australian Bight, off WA and SA, between 2013 and 2017.

The research, published in Scientific Reports, also found evidence of ‘duetting’, which is common in birds and primates but very rarely reported in aquatic mammals, and which suggests the whale’s sophisticated acoustic communication system is more complex than previously thought. MORE

Header image: Australian Long-Finned Pilot Whales. Credit: Rebecca Wellard.