[MARMAM] New publication: Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning
andreika3 at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 1 02:22:16 PDT 2016
we are pleased to announce our new paper: "Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning".
The paper is open acces in Scientific Reports at :
The sperm whale carries a hypertrophied nose that generates powerful
clicks for long-range echolocation. However, it remains a conundrum how
this bizarrely shaped apex predator catches its prey. Several hypotheses
have been advanced to propose both active and passive means to acquire
prey, including acoustic debilitation of prey with very powerful clicks.
Here we test these hypotheses by using sound and movement recording
tags in a fine-scale study of buzz sequences to relate the acoustic
behaviour of sperm whales with changes in acceleration in their head
region during prey capture attempts. We show that in the terminal buzz
phase, sperm whales reduce inter-click intervals and estimated source
levels by 1–2 orders of magnitude. As a result, received levels at the
prey are more than an order of magnitude below levels required for
debilitation, precluding acoustic stunning to facilitate prey capture.
Rather, buzzing involves high-frequency, low amplitude clicks well
suited to provide high-resolution biosonar updates during the last
stages of capture. The high temporal resolution helps to guide motor
patterns during occasionally prolonged chases in which prey are
eventually subdued with the aid of fast jaw movements and/or buccal
suction as indicated by acceleration transients (jerks) near the end of
A. Fais, M. Johnson, M. Wilson, N. Aguilar Soto & P.T. Madsen
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