It is unclear exactly to which category the illirait belong. However, they are recognized by the Inuit as important food sources for many marine creatures, particularly the great bowhead whales, arviit. An elder from Igloolik recounted the following story about sea creatures interfering in the lives of humans:
There is another story about the place where people used to get food when they were in want of food. The person who was given the task of getting the food was given a single feather as a club, while the other would carry a fork. When they had been given food, they would be warned just before they left that since the dogs outside were hungry, they should be careful that the dogs did not deprive them of the food that they had just been given. So when they started to get outdoors, the dogs would immediately go to them, so the other person would try to club them but they would be deprived of the food by the dogs, all they ended up [with] was blood stains from the meat they had with nothing else, this they would return to their people. As it turned out the place they had been to was the place of the sea plankton. As you know the sea plankton that gives out luminescence on the seashore, it was these beings that they had gone to get the food from, it was the shrimps that they thought to have been the dogs who were ever hungry (IOHP 218).