Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sea Lights Help Seals Hunt in the Dark

The glow that certain fish give off may help the world's largest seals hunt them down.

Southern elephant seals spend about 10 months in the southern Indian Ocean, coming ashore only to breed and molt. They forage over broad distances, during which time they dive continuously, sometimes deeper than 4,900 feet (1,500 meters).

The deep, dark ocean is a challenging place to find prey. Whales use echolocation — the biological equivalent of sonar — to scan for potential food, while penguins rely on scent. However, it remained uncertain how southern elephant seals foraged in the deep sea. Scientists now have a better idea after attaching electronic devices to some of them.

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