Updated: January 18, 2021 10:41:27 am
A stunning drone video of a whale trapping its prey in its mouth is one of the most popular videos n the internet presently.
The video, shows the whale keeping its mouth wide open along the water’s surface and a school of fish swimming into it, without realising it’s a trap. When enough fish are inside its mouth, the whale spins swiftly while abruptly closing its jaws.
The footage was captured in the Gulf of Thailand and has been viewed over 1.5 million times on Twitter.
Gulf of Thailand:
This is called an Edens whale trap…pic.twitter.com/aVvhFCwiVq
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) January 14, 2021
The footage has been originally captured by renowned wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory. It is a small segment from the “Oceans” episode of A Perfect Planet, a documentary by BBC that is narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
Sharing the footage on his social media accounts, Gregory explained this type of feeding strategy as “extraordinary behaviour” given the whales are seen treading water to hunt. This is unusual because instead of lunging for their prey the whale treads water to maintain an upright position. This allows it to keep its head above the surface and then they hold their mouths open.
However, the filmmaker claimed that this unusual behaviour is due to water pollution in the region resulting in low-oxygen levels in the water.
“Sewage outflows from the land have caused all the oxygen in the water to be used up, except at the surface. This means the whale’s fish prey can only live in this surface layer,” he wrote.
“By treading water and keeping the corners of their mouth below the surface, a flow is created pulling the fish into the whale’s mouth. In the panic, some of the fish also seem to jump out the water and into the whale’s mouth!” he said.
Here’s how people have reacted to the video:
— Kym Clark (@Kymon5) January 15, 2021
Whales are so spectacular, look at this? https://t.co/a2VP3VooET
— Andrew Clay (@AndrewClayTV) January 14, 2021
The best part about nature is that it just never stops blowing your mind. https://t.co/Fu7o8AWjhF
— BillsZubaz4Life 🦬🏈🦬 (@BradLeeOnBass) January 15, 2021
I love whales but they do this because of pollution so it’s not that cute when you think about it https://t.co/rPNwXiYWPq
— paralethal (@infinities613) January 15, 2021
At first I thought it was some futuristic floating hot tub
— Lib DeFranco (@LinzDeFranco) January 14, 2021
My god, is that a pelican whale? I legit didn’t know their mouths could open that wide.
— Off-brand Liz Lemon (@ohheymeredith) January 14, 2021
This is me at the Golden Corral chocolate dessert fountain https://t.co/MHzbGEHRF8
— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) January 15, 2021
me at the sushi conveyer belt restaurant https://t.co/HEUrXqhBIM
— Judd Greenstein (@juddgreenstein) January 15, 2021
Me, when the cheddar biscuits come to the table at Jim N Nicks https://t.co/6oxi4Efyw9
— FunnyMaine (@FunnyMaine) January 15, 2021
— Deep State Space Force Commander🚀 (@FPGarvin) January 14, 2021
This looks familiar when I’m eating guac and chips….
— Mike Pro (@ProinMN) January 14, 2021
Eden’s whales, that are classified under the broader category of the Bryde’s whales, are not the only species to have adopted this method of feeding. According to research by the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) in 2011, humpback whales have also practicing this method.
“Humpbacks set a trap for juvenile herring when juvenile herring are in small, diffuse schools,” the team said in its report. However, they also suggested the whales could have adapted this new technique simply because it requires less energy than the traditional method of feeding.
The study says that the whales are believed to be learning this new techniques from one another with Christie McMillan, the Executive Director and director of Humpback whale research at MERS saying its a “cultural transmission”.
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