1. Physics of Living Systems
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Animal Behavior: Whale breaching says it loud and clear

  1. Alexander J Werth  Is a corresponding author
  2. Charles L Lemon
  1. Department of Biology, Hampden-Sydney College, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e55722 doi: 10.7554/eLife.55722
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The ability of a whale to breach is influenced by many factors.

Breaching is an energetically expensive behavior which depends on a number of interconnected elements. The length of the animal is one of the most limiting factors, affecting, for instance, body maneuverability. Shorter whales require lower swimming speeds to breach, and therefore lower muscle power. The surface area of flukes and flippers also influences how fast a whale can swim and turn. These and other features determine whether the animal has the capacity to expend a large amount of energy in a very short time (high energetic performance), and is therefore able to breach.

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