How do whales, dolphins and porpoises communicate with each other?

Communication amongst whales and dolphins is achieved in several ways. They create sounds, make physical contact and use body language. Large whales can communicate over huge distances (across entire ocean basins) using very low frequencies. Dolphins and porpoises however, usually use higher frequencies, which limits the distance their sounds can travel.

In general, dolphins make two kinds of sounds, “whistles” and “clicks”. Clicks are used to sense their surroundings through echolocation, while they use whistles to communicate with other members of their species and very likely, with other species too. It is also thought that each dolphin has a unique whistle called a ‘signature whistle’, which is used to identify an individual.