Featured Image Credit: Snapchat
By: Sarah Sharkey
These humpback whales have a perfectly choreographed dance that they use to capture their food. The whole pod knows exactly how to maximize their reward while pirouetting around the ocean.
The incredible footage was captured by a Karma drone on GoPro’s blog, it was witnessed off the coast of Maskelyne Island in British Columbia, Canada. The hunting technique they are using is a bubble net. This strategy requires the lead whale to locate the prey and spiral from the depths to the surface while releasing air from its blowhole which creates a wall of bubbles that contains its food.
The bubble wall is effective in capturing krill, mackerel, herring and more, all things that humpback whales love to eat. After the leader produces the bubble curtain, a second whale vocalizes loudly underneath the makeshift trap which further entraps the panicked prey in a seemingly inescapable cage of air and noise.
After all of that work, the whales finally pierce the surface of the water with their mouths wide open which captures all the food in their way. Although the concept of bubble feeding has been acknowledged for decades, scientists have only recently been able to truly start unraveling the unique dances of each strategy within bubble feeding.
It is crucial to the long-term successful protection of this species that we understand these and other feeding habits of these awesome creatures.
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