Blue Whales Dance for Their Food, Experts Find


| LAST UPDATE 10/11/2022

By Sharon Renee
Blue Whale Ocean Swimming
Joa_Souza via Getty Images

Blue whales are the largest animals to live on Earth, which means they must incorporate a hefty diet to maintain that status. Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have released a study with an incredible new discovery: The blue whale dances with the wind's movement to hunt its prey. Here's what they found.

The researchers using advanced technology, listened for the sounds of the blue whales. When they tracked the sounds, they could follow the movements of the marine mammals. The researchers realized that the whales would respond to changes in the wind, essentially dancing with the wind. When wind patterns would alter, they would specifically seek out the cooler areas of the ocean to track down their favorite food, krill. The crustacean cousin to shrimp is almost exclusively what blue whales eat. A single adult blue whale can consume around 4 tons of krill daily. When the upwelling from the wind would cease, the whales would swim to a different habitat.

Blue Whale Food Chain
Sciepro via Getty Images

These findings have major implications for the blue whale. The mammal is quite mighty, weighing upwards of 200 tons and growing to be up to 100 feet long. They are able to travel at 5 miles an hour. However, despite how grand and majestic they are, the blue whale is endangered due to intense hunting in the first half of the 20th century and never being able to regain its population. Although this does not happen regularly, blue whales can be taken down by fatal shark or orca attacks. Their main predator these days are collisions with ships.

This research will help identify the movement patterns of the blue whale. Hopefully, the study will lead the way to support conservation efforts. As researchers learn more about the giant creature, they will be able to assist in keeping it safe. If you are interested in reading, the entire study was published in the Ecology Letters. Stay tuned as more develops about the fascinating creature.