Research shows that ``kelping,'' a game of playing with seaweed, is becoming popular among whales, and it may be useful for removing parasites from the skin.

It has been reported that among highly intelligent sea mammals such as whales, dolphins, and killer whales, there is

a singing tradition , and a game of destroying human ships is becoming popular. In addition, a study that analyzed 100 social media posts of whales' behavior revealed that a behavior called ``kelping,'' in which seaweed is played by placing it on your head and rolling it around or using it as a bean bag with your pectoral fins, has become popular among whales. I found out that it is.

JMSE | Free Full-Text | What's at Play: Humpback Whale Interaction with Seaweed Is a Global Phenomenon

Playful whales can use seaweed as a hat – or exfoliant. This 'kelping' behavior is more common than we realised

Whale watchers have known for some time that humpback whales display gestures like playing with seaweed, and this behavior is called ``kelping.''

In a study published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering on September 15, 2023, a research group led by oceanographer Olaf Meinecke from Griffith University in Australia found that We collected and analyzed data from 100 photos and videos of kelping reported in .

Below is a map showing where kelping has been reported. Of the 100 cases, 99 were from Canada, the United States, Australia, and one from Polynesia. Humpback whales were the most common type of kelping, with 95 of the 163 whales sighted being humpback whales.

Meinecke said the reason there were so many sightings of humpback whales is because humpback whales are the most common whale and are more active near the surface of the water than other baleen whales, making them a common sight for beachgoers and whale watchers. I'm guessing that's because it's possible.

Photos and videos showed the whales balancing on seaweed on their heads and sharing it with other whales to roll around.

These behaviors meet the three criteria that zoologists define as ``play'': ``spontaneous and fun,'' ``not serious,'' and ``healthy and free from stress or hunger.'' The research group concluded that kelping is a playful behavior.

According to Meinecke, whales have fine hairs on the top of their heads, and the hair roots are concentrated with nerves, so whales balance themselves with seaweed on their heads to feel stimulation and tickling. It may be possible.

If you play the video below, you can see a whale kelping in action.

Humpback Whale 'Kelping' Santa Barbara Channel Islands - YouTube

The video shows the whale wrapping a chunk of seaweed around its body.

There was also a whale moving the seaweed floating on the surface of the water with its pectoral fins.

Some seaweeds have the effect of inhibiting bacterial growth, so kelping is not just a game, but may also be a way to keep your body clean. Additionally, there have been reports of gray whales off the coast of Mexico repeatedly coming close to humans as if asking for help because they could no longer bear the itching caused by whale lice, so kelping may also have the effect of preventing the establishment of barnacles and whale lice. Mr. Meinecke thinks so.

in Science,   Creature,   Video, Posted by log1l_ks