June 27, 2011
Humpback Whales Catch Prey With Bubble-nets
Marine biologist David Wiley of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others report in the latest issue of Behaviour (Volume 148, Nos. 5-6) how humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine catch prey with advanced water technology. Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are large baleen whales (up to 14 m long) that feed on a small prey in dense concentrations, such as krill or herrings.
Humpbacks whales have large flukes relative to their size providing greater thrust for quick maneuvers. While other baleen whales feed by swimming rapidly forward, humpbacks are adapted for fine-scale movement to create bubble nets.
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