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Aquatic Biology

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AB - Vol. 1, No. 2 - Feature article
Mesoplodon densirostris (top) can echolocate their squid prey (Loligo pealeii, bottom) at ranges of more than 100 meters Photos: I. Dominguez & Roger Hanlon

Madsen PT, Wilson M, Johnson M, Hanlon RT, Bocconcelli A, Aguilar de Soto N, Tyack PL


Clicking for calamari: toothed whales can echolocate squid Loligo pealeii


Echolocating toothed whales consume a biomass of squid comparable to the total catches of human fisheries despite reports that acoustic backscatter from squid is too poor for effective echolocation. Madsen and coworkers have found that the acoustic backscatter of toothed whale clicks from Loligo sp. squid provide biosonar detection ranges of ?100 meters, surpassing the normal ranges of detection of other sensory systems; and that the muscular mantle of Loligo sp. is the dominant acoustic scatter source. The authors suggest that predation from echolocating toothed whales may in part have contributed to evolution of different body forms in cephalopods by passively rendering some species less conspicuous for biosonar-based predation via a low muscle mass.


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