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Groundbreaking Footage Shows Humpback Whales Creating Bubble Nets To Trap Prey

Behold, an incredibly unique hunting method performed by the humpback whales of the Atlantic

Humpback whales seen blowing bubbles to trap fish in 'groundbreaking'  footage - Mirror Online

As shown in the stunning video shared by the University of Hawaii, a pair of humpback whales blow bubbles while swimming in a circle to capture their prey.

The bubbles create a circular ‘net’ that encircles their chosen prey before they approach them with a lunge from below.

Taken in the icy waters of Southern Alaska, cameras and sensors attached to the whales, as well as drones, were used to capture the video.

You can see the whales swimming around a school of fish they have chosen to be prey while creating the bubble net.

Then while confined in the space, the whale swallows the prey with their mouths wide open.

Lars Bejde, director of the UH Mānoa Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP) said: “The footage is rather groundbreaking.”

“We’re observing how these animals are manipulating their prey and preparing the prey for capture. It is allowing us to gain new insights that we really haven’t been able to do before.”

K. Kosma/Royal Society Open Science 2019

The illustration above shows how a humpback blows a bubble ‘net’ before splashing its flippers at the net to reinforce them before lunging up.

Summer sees around 3,000 humpback whales visiting Alaska, and the winter, which is breeding season, sees up to 10,000 of them reach Hawaii.

Researchers now hope the footage will help shed some light on shifts in habitat and changed in food linked to climate change and prey depletion.

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Written by Joe Kahlo