Humpback whales are incredible creatures, particularly when you look at their diet. These marine giants only eat for half the year and during their feeding season, they sometimes participate in extraordinary behavior to meet their dietary needs. Groups of whales come together and create extraordinary patterns on the water's surface in an act known as bubble-net feeding.
Aerial video footage shows these incredible patterns, that sometimes resemble Fibonacci spirals. So what is actually happening when humpback whales are bubble-net feeding? This cooperative hunting technique calls for groups of humpback whales to encircle their prey—typically salmon, krill, or herring. Then, they each begin to exhale from their blowhole to create bubbles that disorient the fish, creating a sort of net. Then, one whale puts out a feeding call, at which point all of the whales open their mouths and swim upwards, catching the fish in their mouths.
It's an amazing piece of choreography and one that is learned. In fact, not all groups of humpback whales participate in bubble-net feeding, as some live in areas where food is plentiful. This makes this type of group hunting unnecessary. The behavior was first observed in the Norwegian Sea in 1929; but, at the time, it was dismissed as playful socialization. Scientists now know that it's not the case and feel that it may have developed as a response to a scarcity in the food supply. By working together, the group ensures that everyone can get the nutrients that they need.
See humpback whales in action as they carry out bubble-net feeding and create extraordinary shapes in the water.
h/t: [IFL Science!]