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Air-Borne Sounds of the Humpback Whale, Megaptera Novaeangliae

William A. Watkins
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1377580 573-578 First published online: 20 November 1967


Unusual wheezing blows were recorded from humpback whales. This sound was audible both underwater and in air, and appeared to be produced at the blowhole during exhalation. The wheezing blow was composed of frequencies up to 2 kcps and lasted about 2 sec. The in-air and underwater components of this sound are compared. The wheezing blow is contrasted to normal blows, which can be plainly heard in air but are not audible underwater, and to the usual underwater calls, which can not be heard in air. Spectrographic analyses of the three types of sounds are presented. The sounds of normal whale blows are described as variable; this is reflected in the variety of opinion in the literature on whales.

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