Did you know that some cetaceans like humpback whales use ‘nets’ to fend for themselves? They’ll dive down and stir up a ring around their prey, blowing bubbles as they go. This rising ring makes a cylindrical column that traps fish and allows other whales to swim up from below to feast on them. It’s an incredible thing to watch, and scientists have caught it on camera in a whale’s perspective.
Marine biologists at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, United States fixed cameras and sensors on whales using suction cups to collect data on this fascinating feeding behavior. They also captured a stunning overhead view of a pair of humpback whales creating bubble net with the help of drones.
According to Science Alert, Humpback whales or Megaptera novaeangliae are migratory fish that visit Alaska to feed during the summer, before heading back down to the warmer waters around Hawaii in the winter where they breed and raise their young ones. The whales don’t eat during this period and use the Alaskan skrills to stock up on huge reserves to keep going.
What’s fascinating about bubble net feeding is that it seems to be a learned behaviour. Not all humpback whales hunt this way, and those that do can have varying techniques. It’s also cooperative, with the whales working together to make sure everyone gets fed.