Recent studies show that the Humpback Whales blow bubble nets to trap fish and then use their flippers to snag a big mouthful of their wiggly meal.
Researchers filmed for the very first time a pod of humpbacks hunting using this tactic, which is otherwise called pectoral herding. The humpbacks observed were hunting off the coast of Alaska. Findings of the study were published in the Royal Society Open Science last October 16.
Prior to the filming, humpbacks were known to feed by lunging forward with their mouths open. This way, they can catch whatever fish was on their way. However, the recent discovery shows that these whales can also swim in an upward spiral motion and blow bubble nets to gather and trap fish. These circular nets of bubbles make it very difficult for fish to escape.
In horizontal pectoral feeding, whales create bubble nets prior to splashing a flipper at weak parts of the net to strengthen the “barrier”. Once ready, humpbacks would ascend from the deep water and use their pectoral fins to guide fish into their mouths. If that’s not enough, humpbacks would even tilt one or both their flippers to reflect sunlight off their white skin. This way, fish would get even more disoriented.
Watch the amazing video here!