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Rare Underwater Footage Shows Whales Using Bubble 'Nets' to Hunt Preys

Some cetaceans, like humpback whales, use 'nets' to catch their food. They'll dive down and swim in a ring around their prey, blowing out bubbles as they go.

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Updated:October 17, 2019, 1:18 PM IST
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Rare Underwater Footage Shows Whales Using Bubble 'Nets' to Hunt Preys
Screenshot from video uploaded by University of Hawai‘i News / YouTube.

In a rare whale-eye view, scientists have captured an incredible sight on camera.

Some cetaceans, like humpback whales, use "nets" to catch their food.

They'll dive down and swim in a ring around their prey, blowing out bubbles as they go.

This phenomenon of rising ring forms a column that traps fish, thereby allowing other whales in the group to swim up from below, mouths agape, through the bubble cylinder to feast.

In addition to the drone footage, marine biologists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa stuck cameras and sensors on whales using suction cups to collect a wealth of data on the fascinating behaviour.

"We have two angles. The drone's perspective is showing us these bubble nets and how the bubbles are starting to come to the surface and how the animals come up through the bubble net as they surface, while the cameras on the whales are showing us the animal's perspective. Overlaying these two data sets is quite exciting," said marine biologist Lars Bejder of the university's Marine Mammal Research Program.

According to Science Alert, migratory humpback whales visit Alaska to feed during the summer, before heading back down to the warmer waters around Hawaii for the winter season. It is during winter when they breed and raise their calves.

During this breeding period, the report says that whales don't really eat. They need to stock up on huge reserves of Alaskan krill to keep going over this energy-expensive time.

The number of humpback whales evidently increased after its commercial fishing was banned in 1985.

They are no longer considered endangered.

However, there has been a substantial decline in humpback whale sightings in the last five years.

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