A whale song is the creation of a pattern of predictable of sounds that are created by large baleen whales such as the humpback whale and blue whale (the blue whale is the largest animal in the world) in which these patterns resemble the notes of a song.
These songs have been noted for their eerie and haunting melodies by those that have observed it and musical composers have been awe struck by the beautiful melodies created by these majestic marine mammals.
Both the humpback whale and blue whale are known for producing these whale songs, however among the humpback population these songs are only seen in the male humpback (not the female) and only occurs during mating season, which suggests that these songs may play a large role in the whales mating rituals.
Similar songs may be heard by certain species during feeding periods or when a whale morns over being lonely or the loss of a loved one, however they are not the same songs as those heard during mating periods.
For those that sing in the mating season it is believed that these songs communicate health, youthfulness and fitness to the female and helps attract a mating partner.
These songs have been observed during periods where a male whale will escort a female whale to a destination as well as in groups of competing males.
During mating season male whales can be heard singing in unison, even when they are miles apart, and when one male whale comes into close contact with another it can lead to aggression and escalate into competitive behaviors and confrontation.
Surprisingly researchers have noted that at any given moment all males in a group will sing the same version of a song, even when separated over large distances, while whales in another region or hemisphere will sing a completely different song, but in unison with other whales in their area.
These sounds are loud, deep and low-frequency (20Hz – 10 kHz).
They can be heard many miles away and may go on for hours or even days.
Individual songs can last anywhere from a few minutes up to a half hour at which point they may then be repeated again.
The whale song is considered one of the most complex non human forms of communication created by any species in the animal kingdom.
The whale song carries a predictable melodic tone and the notes are repeated over and over again like a chorus.
Unfortunately not much else is known about the meaning of these songs, however research has shown that these songs have melodies and notes that are very similar in tone to man-made music.
Over time the song may change but all the singing males will remain in tune with one another.
In addition to singing during mating periods these marine mammals will also communicate through body language.
They can be seen spy hopping, lunging, charging, breaching and tail slapping among other forms of body language to communicate their interests and desires.