Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Prevent bycatch
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Science
  • Stop whaling
Orcafilm: Das Ende Der Freiheit

Orcafilm: Das Ende Der Freiheit

<br /><br /><br />Was ist dein Weihnachstwunsch für Wale und Delfine? Schreib uns eine Mail...
Sperm Whale Jaw For Sale

Sperm Whale Jaw For Sale

Further to the removal of the jaw and teeth from the body of a sperm...
Kinofilm: Mein Freund Der Delfin

Kinofilm: Mein Freund Der Delfin

Wer hat diesen Film schon gesehen? Es geht um einen Delfin mit dem Namen „Winter“,...
Morgan Having A Rough Time At Loro Parque

Morgan Having A Rough Time At Loro Parque

It seems WDCS's fears for the welfare of Morgan the orca have sadly been proven...

Scientists discover new humpback whale feeding technique

Humpback whale breaching as it falls back into the water

Humpback whales are renowned for the many different ways they catch their prey, such as lunge-feeding, kick-feeding, bubble-netting and many more.

However, up-to-now scientists have been unable to work out how the whales might use their five-metre long pectoral flippers to help catch their food.

Finally, using aerial observations and photographs, they have been able to record whales off the coast of Alaska using their flippers in a technique they have called 'pectoral herding'.

The flippers are used in three distinct ways:

  1. To stop prey escaping.
  2. To move water to guide prey into their mouth.
  3. By flashing the bright, white underside of the flipper to confuse the fish when there is sunlight on the water.

The technique was observed in humpbacks feeding in one particular area in Alaska. The humpbacks have learnt to time their arrival each year to coincide with the release of young salmon from a hatchery in the area. One theory as to why the technique was observed here is that herring, which are a more common prey for humpbacks, naturally school close together when threatened, and are therefore easier to catch using other techniques. Salmon on the other hand do not school so readily so need some extra effort to get them together, hence the use of the flippers.

WDC policy manager, Nicola Hodgins, described the feeding technique as 'Quite ingenious behaviour, which if successful, as it appears to be, will be passed down to future generations.'

Read the article:
Pectoral herding: an innovative tactic for humpback whale foraging
Madison M. Kosma,Alexander J. Werth,Andrew R. Szabo and Janice M. Straley
Royal Society Open Science

Related News

I'm an Orca Hero!

Everyone can be an Orca Hero!

Orca Action Month is an annual time to gather the human community of the Pacific Northwest around the endangered Southern Resident orca population, sharing their...
Beluga Sanctuary Update – July 1st

Beluga Sanctuary Update – July 1st

Update: 1st July 2020 We have been working to relocate belugas, Little Grey and Little White from their land-side care facilities to their sea sanctuary...
WDC funded research shows ‘pingers’ could save porpoises from fishing nets

WDC funded research shows ‘pingers’ could save porpoises from fishing nets

Underwater sound devices called ‘pingers’ could be an effective, long-term way to prevent porpoises getting caught in fishing nets without having negative effects on their...
We were SO close.

We were SO close.

We were so close. Because of the past couple of years, June makes me incredibly nervous. In June of 2019, I heard the news of...

Leave a Comment