It has been discovered that whales eat their food with other members of their own species. This camaraderie while dining is a unique feature.
Billions of herrings gather to spawn off Cape Cod each year. This activity also attracts their predators which includes many species of whales. Researchers from MIT, NOAA and an institute in Norway got together to study this phenomenon.
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They found that many different types of whales feed on the herrings in groups that could be separated based on their species. Like attracts like. Thus every species feeds with others of its own kind.
The study was published in the journal Nature. Basically, the research was linked with the sounds of whales as they called out to each other beneath the ocean’s surface. This study was conducted in 2006.
A certain pattern of clustering emerged from the complex gathering of whales among the shoals of herring. Humpback Whales were found at either end of the shoals in the form of two groups.
Meanwhile, Minke, Fin and Blue Whales were to be found in the central regions between the Humpback Whales.
As for the calls the whales made to each other, they increased after dusk. This was the time when the herring formed extremely thick shoals.
However, during the daytime, the shoals dispersed and the whale calls also went down by several decibels. It is the first time that hunter and hunted species have been observed at such close quarters and over such a large area.
While it is obvious that many marine life forms dine on fish, until now no such geographic and feeding distribution of these predators were recorded in such a large locus of influence.
It is not known whether the whales are feeding in groups due to some territorial imperative or due to selective choice based upon variant feeding mechanisms.
More research definitely needs to be conducted before a full and final conclusion is reached. The remote sensing system that recorded the acoustic signals of whales proved to be a useful criteria of gauging their feeding strategies.
There is more happening in the ocean than can be dreamt of in our petty philosophies. 160 hydrophones were employed among the instruments that got used for the research.
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Different species of whales had different sounds. The patterns they followed in their feeding times and behavior were singular in their nature.