The Southern Right Whale, like other whales, draws its body off the water in a unique and stunning show, which is commonly know as “breaching”. We are not entirely sure of the reasons behind the jump. Some scientists say the whale jumps because it is a way of communicating with other adult whales or calves.
Others argue that another reason could be to try to see out of the water, perhaps just shapes and distances, but with eyes adapted to see salty underwater, it would be very unlikely to see the objects defined above, in the air and surface only at a glance.
The Jump of the Whale in Peninsula ValdesThere are other possible reasons that cause the jump of the whale, one of them, which is tiny, is a small, crab-like creature,the cyamids, a crustacean parasite.There is evidence that there can be large concentrations of cyamids walking on the skin and callosities of the whale. Sometimes they can walk over very sensitive areas, such as the corner of the eye, and generate significant discomfort and it may be that, by breaching, the force generated by the animal falling back into the water, may dislodge some if not all of these parasites.
Other annoyances that may generate breaching are the intense bites on their backs caused by seagulls, which lately developed the habit of feeding on their skin and fat. Whatever the reason for breaching, the sight of this amazing marine mammal propelling it’s body weight of more than 40 tons, 10 meters out of the water, using only the force of it’s tail or caudal fin, is a spectacle that is fantastic to behold.