Whales go about millions of miles or say attempt the longest migrations on the planet. They swim around many thousands of miles for many months, to mate in the tropical zone. Until now, this traveling has remained puzzling for researchers. It was unclear whether those creatures are migrating to seek food or to breed. But now, whale migration is no more a mystery. In a study, published in the journal Marine Mammal Science, scientists suggest that whales that hunt around polar waters travel to low latitudes for maintaining healthy skin. Researchers say this migration in icy waters assists whales in conserving body heat by drawing away blood flow from the skin. It slows down the process of skin rejuvenation and eventually pushes the whales towards warmer waters. As a result, whale’s metabolism and probably their scaling, increases.
The new study reveals all species of whales travel from one place to another to molt. Above all, this effort of whales helps them to keep their skin healthy. Marine ecologist Robert Pitman, leading author of the study, said until now people have not considered skin molt in whales. He added, but it is a crucial physical requirement that could be gained by traveling to warmer waters. The researchers said all creatures, including mammals and birds, frequently shed their fur, skin, or feathers. Even more, the voyaging to warmer waters would boost kin metabolism, including molt in an atmosphere that does not drain their body heat.
Over around eight years, the scientists have appended 62 satellite tags on killer whales. They have discovered that all four species that forage Antarctic waters have had migrated as long as 11,000 km round-trip. Most of the time, the creatures have traveled non-stop and mainly towards north and back. Apart from this, the researchers have also captured images of baby killer whales in Antarctica. Thus depending on this finding, the scientists suggest that whales need not move in warmer waters for giving birth.