Humpback whales, which have been eating near Alaska all summer, are preparing to migrate to warm waters and are actively storing fat deposits. Now their feeding has become as intense as possible and American scientists have used this opportunity to test one hypothesis. According to her, whales deliberately plan to hunt in a flock and use unique "bubble nets" during it.
Scientists fixed cameras on suction cups on the whales themselves and simultaneously filmed from multicopters. The combination of these two data sources allowed us to see the whole picture - the hypothesis was brilliantly confirmed. The first whale begins to move from depth to the surface in a spiral, intensively releasing air from the spiracles. This forms a series of bubbles, which, as the animal moves, form a kind of air column.
The first whale builds an aerial underwater barrier, a kind of net, inside which the krill remain. The rest of the individuals alternately swim through the net with an open mouth, collecting food. This is much more convenient than harvesting krill all over the bay, and ensures that all the whales in the pod are fed quickly and simultaneously to continue their journey.
Most of all, scientists are interested in the fact that such behavior is observed only in humpback and Braille whales, as well as in bottlenose dolphins, which use similar barriers of agitated silt, driving fish into shallow water. This type of hunting is very reminiscent of a learned, invented, and not an instinctive type of behavior. And its performance is different for different groups of whales and dolphins. It turns out that these animals have good self-learning abilities.