Whale Q&A

Everything you always wanted to know about whales: questions and answers.

  • 2019 / 11 / 21

    What good are whales?

    Par Collaboration spéciale / Questions from the public

    By Anne-Marie Asselin The impact of the global decline of cetaceans is not fully understood, as it has never been quantified. But the recoveries observed in several populations now enables us to bette...

  • 2019 / 11 / 18

    Why do some belugas have turned-up pectoral fins?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Beluga / Questions from the public

    This question is from Marie-Hélène D’Arcy, beluga photo-ID technician at the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM). In an aerial photo taken by a research drone, a beluga with...

  • 2019 / 08 / 28

    What does a blue whale use its tongue for?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Blue whales have a huge tongue that weighs as much as an elephant. In addition to the sense of taste, this organ is also involved in engulfing large volumes of water, a filter-feeding technique specif...

  • 2019 / 07 / 29

    Do Planes and Helicopters Disturb Whales?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Whales are particularly sensitive to noise, whether human-made or natural. Noise can interfere with their communication and affect their behaviour. So, can planes and helicopters flying over their hab...

  • 2019 / 07 / 22

    How does echolocation work?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    In water, light is scarce, but sounds travels quickly. In such an environment, toothed whales such as belugas, sperm whales and dolphins cannot rely on their vision alone to orient themselves and loca...

  • 2019 / 07 / 11

    What is ambergris?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Sperm whales are known and have been hunted for their production of ambergris, a substance of great value that has historically been used notably in the perfume industry. It is estimated that ambergri...

  • 2019 / 07 / 05

    Do humpback whales have friends?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Since arriving in the Marine Park area, Tic Tac Toe has been observed multiple times with another female nicknamed Snowball. At the end of last summer, it was with Gaspar that Tic Tac Toe spent all he...

  • 2019 / 05 / 16

    Do whales suffer from sunburn?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    Unlike other mammals, whales do not have hair to protect their skin. Even if they spend little time at the surface, can whales get sunburn? Mechanism of sunburn Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet (UV) r...

  • 2019 / 05 / 03

    Are whales’ bones adapted to their diving?

    Par Marie-Ève Muller / Questions from the public

    Several species of whales have traits that are well suited to their diving behaviour. For example, the relatively small size of their lungs relative to their body allows them to carry less air when th...

  • Rorqual à bosse 2019 / 04 / 12

    What is a laryngeal sac?

    Par Jeanne Picher-Labrie / Questions from the public

    The laryngeal sac is a structure found in baleen whales, but also in many other mammals, including primates (but not humans!). Lying between the mouth and the trachea, it is a cavity associated with t...