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Discovery of Sound in the Sea
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Gray Whale
(Eschrichtius robustus)
Photo of Gray whale in ice.
Gray whale in Arctic ice north of Point Barrow. Photo courtesy of of Dave Withrow, NOAA, National Marine Mammal Laboratory.
Gray whale close-up.
Close-up of gray whale, showing two blow holes on top of head. Photo courtesy of Jo Guerrero.
Click either choice below to hear the Gray Whale:
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These "pong-pong" sounds were recorded in Monterey Bay, CA in 1990.
Sound courtesy of Nicole Crane.
Description
This whale's mottled gray body is commonly seen covered with barnacles and it lacks a dorsal fin. Maximum length of the gray whale is about 14.1 m (46 ft) with the females being slightly larger than the males. Gray whales are found in the North Pacific, with a small population in the western North Pacific and a much larger population in the eastern North Pacific. Gray whales in the eastern North Pacific winter along the coast of Baja California and migrate north to the Bering Sea in the spring, while gray whales in the western North Pacific are only known from a small region around Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk. The most common sounds heard from the gray whale are moans between 20 and 200 Hz lasting approximately 1.5 seconds. Gray whales also produce clicks, knocks and metallic bonging sounds occurring as a single pulse or a series of pulses in quick succession with frequencies ranging from 100 Hz to 3 kHz.