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Context-dependent lateralized feeding strategies in blue whales
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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Number of Authors: 82017 (English)In: Current Biology, ISSN 0960-9822, E-ISSN 1879-0445, Vol. 27, no 22, p. R1206-R1208Article in journal, Letter (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Lateralized behaviors benefit individuals by increasing task efficiency in foraging and anti-predator behaviors [1–4]. The conventional lateralization paradigm suggests individuals are left or right lateralized, although the direction of this laterality can vary for different tasks (e.g. foraging or predator inspection/avoidance). By fitting tri-axial movement sensors to blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), and by recording the direction and size of their rolls during lunge feeding events, we show how these animals differ from such a paradigm. The strength and direction of individuals’ lateralization were related to where and how the whales were feeding in the water column. Smaller rolls (≤180°) predominantly occurred at depth (>70 m), with whales being more likely to rotate clockwise around their longest axis (right lateralized). Larger rolls (>180°), conversely, occurred more often at shallower depths (<70 m) and were more likely to be performed anti-clockwise (left lateralized). More acrobatic rolls are typically used to target small, less dense krill patches near the water’s surface [5,6], and we posit that the specialization of lateralized feeding strategies may enhance foraging efficiency in environments with heterogeneous prey distributions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 27, no 22, p. R1206-R1208
National Category
Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149983DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.10.023ISI: 000415815800005PubMedID: 29161554OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-149983DiVA, id: diva2:1169035
Available from: 2017-12-22 Created: 2017-12-22 Last updated: 2017-12-22Bibliographically approved

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