Blue whale feeding in surface waters Today’s Video of the Day from Oregon State University features drone footage of a blue whale feeding on krill along the surface of the ocean.
The OSU scientists recently discovered a population of whales in New Zealand and set out to investigate their feeding behavior.
Leigh Torres is an assistant professor and director of the Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute. Blue whale feeding in surface waters as shown above in the video shows the way these amazing mamals can capture their prey in shallow or even dense areas.
“People think about whales having to dive deep to get to the densest prey patches, but if they can find their prey in shallow waters, it’s actually more energetically profitable to feed near the surface,” said Professor Torres.
“In this population of whales in New Zealand, they foraged more in areas where their prey was dense and shallow.”
Feeding habits of the blue whale vary depending on season. Scientists estimate that during feeding season, blue whales eat about four percent of their total body mass every day . During this particular season, the blue whale generally eats more than the daily intake requirement, which is then stored as fat. Blue whales catch their food by a method called filter feeding. Instead of teeth, blue whales have bristles called baleen, which look a little bit like a comb and catch food like a net. To feed, a blue whale just opens its mouth and swims towards a large group of krill.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
Video Credit: Oregon State University