Friday, 30 November 2012

Largest whale's acrobatic ambush

Blue whales perform underwater acrobatics to attack their prey from below, scientists have found.

The massive mammals are known for lunge-feeding; gulping up to 100 tonnes of krill-filled water in less than 10 seconds.

Using suction cup tags, US researchers have recorded the surprising manoeuvrability of the giants.

They found that the whales roll 360 degrees in order to orientate themselves for a surprise attack.

The results are published in the Royal Society journal Biology Lettersby Dr Jeremy Goldbogen and colleagues for the Cascadia Research Collective based in Washington, US.

"Despite being the largest animals to have ever lived, blue whales still show an impressive capacity to perform complex manoeuvres that are required to efficiently exploit patches of krill," said Dr Goldbogen.

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