Research

# video | How do whales hunt fish with traps?

When observing animals, you can make surethat they are extremely sophisticated hunters. In one of our previous materials, we talked about the trick with which bats are able to detect even those insects that can disguise themselves as foliage and tree bark. Now it is time to talk about the method of hunting humpback whales for schooling flocks. Working as a team, they form a cunning trap from air bubbles and allow each other to absorb a huge amount of food. Researchers from the US state of Hawaii managed to shoot a humpback whale hunt on video - this is truly an amazing sight.

Humpback whales weigh about 30,000 kilograms

Unlike blue whales, which are mostlyfeed on plankton, humpback whales like to eat schooling fish. Moreover, they eat exclusively in strictly allotted periods for this, in order to gain more subcutaneous fat and not to starve during migrations and wintering. During hunger strikes, they lose up to 30% of their weight, so it is extremely important for them to absorb a lot of tiny fish at a time. To feed themselves, they have to act together.

How do whales eat?

Two humpback whales can participate in the hunt. One of them swims under a school of tiny fish and begins to swim in a spiral, while exhaling air. Fish are surrounded by many bubbles and begin to pile up at the surface. There they are practically in a hopeless position, so the second humpback whale can only swim through a school of fish with an open mouth. Subsequently, the whales change roles and a trap of bubbles forms an already fed individual.

Did you know that predatory whales turn over ships and kill people?

In the 20th century, huge humpback whales risked becomingan endangered species, but in 1985 hunting for them was prohibited. After taking such measures, the population of water giants began to recover, but in the past five years, scientists have again begun to notice a decrease in their number. Perhaps the reason for the new decline in the humpback whale population is climate change, but scientists cannot yet confirm this theory. Finding out the reasons at the moment, researchers from the University of Hawaii in Manoa are engaged in, and it was they who managed to photograph the whale hunt on video.

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To remove the mesmerizing cameras, they usedtwo types of shooting. Firstly, they armed themselves with a drone flying above the water surface. Secondly, they previously mounted underwater cameras on the bodies of whales in order to observe the “first-person” process. You can watch the whale hunt in the video below, and see the study details on the news website of the University of Hawaii.

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It is noteworthy that a similar hunting strategynot only humpback whales use it, but also other underwater inhabitants. For example, bottlenose dolphins from the genus Tursiops can collectively raise sediment from the bottom and form a similar trap. Flocking fish also fall into it, which as a result cannot spread apart and become easy prey for other dolphins. Of course, the dolphin that created the trap also does not remain hungry - relatives help him eat in the same way.