6 months ago
Oregon State University scientists researching blue whales recently captured on video rarely seen feeding behavior from the world’s largest animal.
The 200-ton creatures feed on some of the smallest creatures in the sea, two-inch shrimp called krill, and need to eat tons of it every day in order get enough nutrients.
The blue whale was filmed via drone hunting a school of krill in the Southern Ocean near New Zealand. The footage sheds light on how the mammals carefully choose their prey and also demonstrates their impressive might.
In the impressive clip, the blue whale lunges at 6.7 miles per hour to engulf its prey before turning on its side with its mouth wide open, which causes it to slow down to 1.1 miles per hour.
“It would be like me driving a car and braking every 100 yards, then accelerating again,” Leigh Torres, a principal investigator with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State, said in a press release.
While it’s an incredible feat, the hunting tactic also serves a purpose. The mammals need to be selective about which masses of krill to hunt because feeding is such an energy-intensive process.