This Is How A Beluga Whale Communicates With Bubbles, And It’s Adorable

If you’re happy and you know it and you’re a beluga whale, blow some underwater bubbles — specifically, blowhole drips and mouth rings.

It turns out that beluga whales blow different kinds of underwater bubbles depending on their mood, according to a new study by Michael Noonan, a professor of animal behavior at Canisius College.

Noonan was curious why the mammals would expel air underwater, when there didn’t seem to be a practical purpose for doing so.

After 83 hours over eight years spent observing the marine mammals at Marineland of Canada, in Niagara Falls, Noonan and his fellow researchers now believe that the bubble blowing corresponds to belugas’ moods.

“It’s an enigmatic and delightful behavior but also a very complex behavior,” Noonan told

Nearly all underwater bubbles (97.2 percent, to be specific) are one of four types — blowhole drips, blowhole bursts, blowhole streams and mouth rings.

Two of these — blowhole drips and mouth rings — seem to be primarily playful. As you can see, they also look really, really cool:

Blowhole bursts — which look like blobs of exhaled air — seem to be associated with a startle response. Blowhole streams, which are streams of bubbles, indicate aggression in some marine mammals, but Noonan and his team observed the belugas make those streams while swimming together in a friendly way.

There were some sex differences. Female whales made more playful bubbles than did males. Adult females also showed more of a startle response, “which suggests that adult females are more reactive by nature than adult males,” Noonan said.

Young male belugas, meanwhile, appeared to be “rowdier” than young females, based on how often they made blowhole bursts.

“For me, the most interesting part was the —> Read More