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雅思阅读材料：Killer whales visit 'social clubs'
Killer whales visit 'social clubs'
Killer whales create and visit social clubs just like people do, scientistshave discovered.
Up to 100 fish-eating killer whales come together in the Avacha Gulf, offthe coast of Russia.
But no-one knew why these orcas form these huge superpods, when theynormally live in smaller groups.
Now scientists report in the Journal of Ethology that these groups act asclubs in which the killer whales form and maintain social ties.
Fish-eating killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Avacha Gulf live in stablegroups called pods that contain an average of ten individuals and up to 20 inthe largest pods.
But researchers have seen up to eight of these pods coming together to formlarge groups of up to 100 animals.
These large aggregations of pods are seen in numerous places around theworld where large numbers of killer whales occur such as British Columbia,Alaska, Iceland and Antarctica.
It is unlikely that the whales gather for protection as they have nonatural predators.
In the past researchers have suggested that the killer whales meet toincrease their foraging success or to breed.
But the behaviour has not been quantified before.
To investigate, Olga Filatova of the Moscow State University and colleaguesfrom the Far East Russia Orca project observed and photographed whales in theAvacha Gulf from a 4m long boat.
"At first we might see just a few spouts on the horizon. Then quickly wemove among them, keeping a distance of a hundred metres so as not to botherthem," explained project co-director Erich Hoyt of the Whale and DolphinConservation Society (WDCS), which provided the majority of funding for theproject.
"As far as the eye can see, in every direction you see groupings of two tosix killer whales surfacing, spouting then dipping below the surface."
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