Thursday, 24 April 2014

Minke whales responsible for mysterious duck sound

Thanks to acoustic tags a unique rhythmic sound, recorded for decades in the Southern Ocean, has now been identified as belonging to the Antarctic minke whale ((Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Called the “bio-duck,” the sound had mystified scientists for decades after it was first described and named by submarine personnel in the 1960s, who thought it sounded like a duck.

It is heard mainly during the austral winter in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica and off Australia’s west coast, which was particularly surprising as no one knew the minke whales were there. Therefore this identification of the Antarctic minke whale as the source of the sound now indicates that some minke whales stay in ice-covered Antarctic waters year-round, while others undertake seasonal migrations to lower latitudes.


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