In an hour-long battle, as many as 70 whales hunt and kill blue whales off the southwest coast of Australia, according to marine biologists. So “a little surprising and truly shocking” happened.
Christie Brown, a marine biologist at Naturaliste Charters, a Western Australia whale watching tour company, said it initially looked like a typical day. A ship occurs when two pods of Orca In Bremer Bay Canyon, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) from the coast, Brown is “playing and surfing”. Written in a blog post on March 16..
But people on board soon noticed that orcas were making irregular waves. This is strange For example, when beaked whales orcas tend to move in unison, producing surging waves in one direction. “But this is different. These waves are scattered,”; Brown said. “The sound of a long explosion rising high. [spray] Stuck in the air … it is Blue whaleAbout 16 meters [52 feet] Long and so many time left to live. “
Related: Photos: Orcas are devouring the organs of a great white shark.
It’s unclear if the prey is a young blue whale (Balaenoptera muscle) Or a dwarf blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus brevicaudaBecause “they both used these waters,” Brown told Live Science by email, whether the blue beast made a big mistake when it entered the valley system where the orcas were swimming alone, it was not.
Despite their names, orcas (Orcinus orca), Which is also known as an killer whale, not a whale. But they are the largest species in the dolphin family. According to the Ocean ConservancyAnd, like their “killer” names, these marine mammals are known for hunting all kinds of prey, including their “killers”. Humpback whale, seal, Sea turtle And even Great white shark.
In this case, although the blue whale was almost twice the length of the largest whale, which could grow to approximately 31 feet (9.5 m) in length, it was unable to shake off its pursuers. Completely[s] While it swimming Moreover, orcas do not seem to rush in the hunt, but rather “strategic, thoughtful, cooperative and patient.” [and] Always, “Brown wrote on the blog.
In a cyclical wave “Many orcas were on top of the creature, jogging and swimming swiftly beside and under, while others fell out of the chase to rest in their wake and sail 200m. [656 feet] Back, ‘she said, it seems, “using blue is their goal. She noted.
At the same time, many orcas arrived, and soon there were “At least six large males for different pods,” says Brown. Each pod has between six and 12 orcas, so this shows the size of the number of orcas involved in a hunt. This she said Even baby orcas, which are still yellow and red – The color likely to come from the blood vessels That had not yet been covered up with a whine – “be there, close, learn,” Brown said.
Orcas are large groups chasing blue whales from the Bremer Canyon System, approximately 3,280 feet (1,000 m), to the shallower continental shelf, just 262 feet (80 m) deep. Slap the top tail and there is a click and sound from below as the orca pushes the blue forward.
Unlike the blue whale, orcas have teeth, the weapon they use to bite into this blue whale’s jaw. “As the whales spin and spin, orcas hang on – they need their tongue.” Said “[They] Waiting for the jaw to release, but it won’t. “
Related: Image: Pilot whales experience trouble outside the Everglades.
Blue whales fight until the very end “It will not give up, it walks downstairs, and for a moment we think it is over, its tail will rise again thick and silver in the dark ocean, surrounded by black fins and thunder.” “Brown said.
Before 3pm local time after a long hunt For hours, the blue whale surrendered to the attackers, Brown said. “The blood bubbles hit the surface like an exploding red balloon,” she said. “The carcass, as shared with everyone involved deep below,” said Brown. “We saw a blubber, one lump of flesh, and it was gone.”
Hammerhead sharks and long-finned pilot whales (Another species of ocean dolphin) trying to capture some of the whale’s meat. But orcas fiercely protect their prey on the boat. ”Some benefactors [were] Some were silent, some were thrilled and amazed, ”Brown said.
This is the third time Naturaliste Charters has recorded orcas eliminating blue whales, Brown told Live Science by email. “They were both in April 2019 and two weeks apart,” she said in 2020. Shortened due to COVID-19, we were not at sea at a time when blue whales were migrating north from Antarctica (Mid-March, April, May), so we don’t know if the same dynamic happened last year. “
Originally published in Live Science.