Bubble-Net Feeding Humpback Whales Spotted in Australia for the First Time

People did a good job of turning the physical nets to their advantage to keep the fish away from the sea. Now, we have probably gotten a little better at it, with over-fishing being a common threat to many marine species.

We are not the only ones who have used the net as a way to feed, mind and recent footage shows a group of humpback whales caught off the coast of Australia, which proves just that. Instead of using some strings looped over the hoop, these amazing marine creatures observed using air bubbles as a way to collect prey. Incredible footage, published in the Journal of Aquatic Conservation and captured by a civilian scientist with a drone, captured a huge super-group of humpback whales practicing bubble-net feeding off the coast of New South Wales in 2020.

Bubble-Net Feeding Humpback Whales Spotted in Australia for the First Time

The observation mark is the second time hemisphere have seen in the Southern Hemisphere and the first time they have been seen eating stars off the coast of Australia. First, a quick commentator, bubble-net feeding strategically sees a group of whales prey in close collaboration with prey such as fish and krill with the help of bursting bubbles. By using these nets to manipulate prey, whales can work together to make feeding easier. It has seen between humpback and bridal whales but it is not necessarily exclusive to these cetaceans, as it is possible that we have not witnessed it among other species.

It first considered a case where most victims hunted by humpbacks while in the Northern Hemisphere, following a “feast and famine” model that shows their fasting as they move to the Southern Hemisphere welfare center. It is possible, however, that this observation may join others in refuting this theory and those humpback whales actually hunt outside of known feeding sites.

As the authors of the study wrote in their research paper, there is a simple reason why we can now only find out. Humpback whales were one of the targets when the whale was in major form, exterminating the population and pushing it towards extinction. Changes in laws and policies, as well as laborious conservation work, have fortunately seen their numbers back in pre-whale-free statistics. Perhaps, perhaps, now we will continue to see “unprecedented” behaviors in the whales that have enough around them to catch in their action.