Fin Review | Whale tales

Interspecies interactions are common in nature and have been recorded between whales and dolphins on multiple occasions.

Most of these interactions have been described as playful social activity.

Mandurah is no exception when it comes to this remarkable behaviour.

Last week we witnessed dolphins interacting with not only humpback whales, but also with pygmy blue and southern right whales.

All this took place just outside and south of the Dawesville Cut.

We first observed the pygmy blue whales that were slowly travelling south.

They were then, as best as I can describe, charged by two dolphins.

The pygmy blues reacted to the dolphins’ presence, increased their speed and even did a couple of head lunges as they swam away, dolphins in tow.

The pursuit lasted for a couple of minutes and then the dolphins left the whales, who resumed their prior slow travelling behaviour.

After some searching we then came across two southern right whales, who were also joined by a group of dolphins.

Two of the dolphins in this group were the same ones that interacted with the pygmy blue whales.

This time, the dolphins were swimming in front of the whales’ head very similarly to how they would bowride in front of a boat.

Both species were seemingly happy being around each other.

We carried on along the coast and it was not long until we came across another group of dolphins, who were joined by two humpback whales.

Very similarly to the dolphins interacting with the southern right whales, these dolphins were swimming in front and to the side of the whales.

Between mid-September and early December the whales are off of Mandurah as they are migrating to their feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean.

The Mandurah Dolphin Research Project is measuring how many dolphins use the Peel-Harvey waterways and how they are connected to dolphins in nearby coastal waters.

To find out more about the research group, visit their Facebook page.

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