Cetacean surfacing behaviour
Cetacean surfacing behaviour or breaching
is a group of behaviours demonstrated by the Cetacea
infraorder when they come to the water's surface to breathe. Time intervals between surfacing can vary depending on the species, surfacing style or the purpose of the dive, and some species have been known to dive for up to 85 minutes at a time when hunting.
In addition to respiration, cetaceans have developed and used surface behaviours for many other functions such as display, feeding and communication. All regularly observed members of the order Cetacea, including whales, dolphins and porpoises, show a range of surfacing behaviours. Cetacea is usually split into two suborders, Odontoceti
, based on the presence of teeth or baleen plates in adults respectively. However, when considering behaviour, Cetacea can be split into whales (cetaceans more than 10 m long such as sperm and most baleen whales) and dolphins and porpoises (all Odontocetes
less than 10 m long including orca
) as many behaviours are correlated with size. Although some behaviours such as spyhopping, logging and lobtailing occur in both groups, others such as bow riding or peduncle throws are exclusive to one or the other. It is these energetic behaviours that humans observe most frequently, which has resulted in a large amount of scientific literature on the subject and a popular tourism industry
Humpback whale spinner-breaching
Humpback whale near its whale calf, breaching off to keep away males
Northern minke whale breaches off Azores
Sperm whale breaching off Azores
Orcas double-breaching off the south side of Unimak Island
This page was last edited on 20 June 2018, at 07:26 (UTC)
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