- Apr 6, 2003
Phil said:I have read that sperm whales do not tend to feed on surface cephalopod species even though they often abound in the same feeding grounds, which strikes me as somewhat odd, so perhaps the presence of Mesonychoteuthis in surface waters is a survival strategy in itself.
Now, that's an intriguing thought. A pod of diving whales would generate a mass of echo-locating "cones," widening and converging as the pulses move deeper and away from the whales' heads. The deeper a prey item lives, the better the chances it will be visible in the return. If Mesonychoteuthis were closer to the surface, its chances of escaping detection might be improved.
On the other hand, the ratio of Mesonychoteuthis beaks to Architeuthis beaks in whales' stomachs would suggest that the Colossal has some disadvantage that no amount of light-signature moderation or vertical movement can overcome. We're both waiting on "The Theory" of Mesonycho's attitude in the water, but I'd guess it was generally horizontal, with the tail and arms angled slightly downward from the fulcrum point of the head. If so, that may be its Achilles heel vis sperm whales.
A horizontal Mesonychoteuthis would reflect a much larger sonar image to a diving whale than a squid hanging at 45º would; presenting an end-on view with a smaller sonar cross-section (and significantly less dense tissue composition) might have given Architeuthis an edge, if it's comparatively lesser place in the sperm whale's diet is any indication. As you say, maybe Mesonychoteuthis reacts to being "painted" sonically by rotating to a vertical position and putting out the lights, keeping still and ready to fight.
As for killer whales, you've got me good and stumped.