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Humpback bubble circle

June 6, 2014


Humpbacks use bubble curtains to capture fish as these photos from Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Facebook page show.

The whales dive and then swim back towards the surface in a circular pattern. As they swim to the surface, they “blow bubbles” that form a ring, entrapping and concentrating fish into a ball, WDC says.

The feeding behaviour is often performed in groups with clear roles defining who will create the bubbles and who will eat first.

According to one study done by the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, whales will sometimes poach fish that other whales entrap with the bubble technique.

Whales of the Australian East Coast population sometimes use this technique in the Antarctic during summer, when they grow massive amounts of blubber. They tend to eat much less during the migration season up to the Great Barrier Reef.

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