Humpback Whale Bubble Rings

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Justine Alford

Guest Author

clockJun 25 2014, 17:40 UTC
1326 Humpback Whale Bubble Rings
Elizabeth Sowle McNeill, via National Geographic

Humpback whales (Megaptera noveangliae) are baleen whales that are renowned for their majestic songs that travel vast distances through the oceans and jaw dropping breaching behaviors. They’re found throughout the world’s oceans, but they migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer waters near the Equator for breeding during winter.

Humpback whales usually feed on their prey which consists of krill, plankton and small fish by lunging through the water, mouths open. But another technique employed by these magnificent animals is bubble netting. This involves encircling schools of prey and blowing a series of bubble rings, or vortex rings, through the water which surround the prey, effectively trapping them into a ball so that they’re easier to capture en masse. This behavior is also observed in other cetaceans such as dolphins. 


Credit: Danthewhaleman (The Whale Video Company).

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  • humpback whales,

  • bubble netting