Even if you’re not a big sea animal lover, you might have heard that dolphins are intelligent creatures. There are many behaviors that seem to support this – including one hunting trick dolphins off the Florida coast developed involving “mud rings,” which is as fascinating to watch as it is brilliant.
In the documentary, One Life, presented by BBC Earth, they shared footage of the dolphins’ technique that helps them capture large quantities of fish. The clip itself has gone viral and been viewed millions of times.
Human beings aren’t the only species on this earth thought to be “smart.” The animal kingdom is full of intelligence, with creatures like chimpanzees, elephants, crows, and even goats leaving scientists amazed by their observations.
Here’s an interesting example when it comes to bottlenose dolphins. According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation site, there are ones in Australia referred to as “spongers” that will pick up sea-sponges and keep them in their mouths while hunting on the ocean floor, so they don’t scrape up their noses.
As for some other Australian dolphins, they’ll swim with conch shells in their mouths and then bring them to the surface. Then, they dump out the water and feast on the tiny fish left at the bottom. Pretty clever, don’t you think?
The bottlenose dolphins near Florida invented a way to trap their prey with ease, using a method that helps bring them to the surface.
It starts with one of the dolphins vigorously flapping its tail while speedily swimming. This helps stir up mud from the seabed, which is the main tool in this trick.
Another important aspect is that the dolphin swims in a decreasing circle pattern. When the mud comes billowing up in a circle shape, it essentially creates a fishing net. Watching it from above is quite mesmerizing indeed.
Next, all of the fish that are caught in this mud ring feel threatened and want to escape the “net.” So, they jump from the surface of the water where the dolphins are waiting for their tasty meal.
In the footage below displaying the brilliant technique, over and over the dolphins’ prey comes leaping out – with the ring keeping them contained to the area. Using little effort the dolphins are able to indulge in a feast.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t just a typical hunting method for dolphins. As the narrator of One Life points out:
“These dolphins are the only ones to have developed this hunting behavior, and it gives them an edge. This sort of advantage may mean the difference between life and death in the survival of the fittest.”
How the Florida dolphins learned to carry out the technique may have come from a single dolphin’s experience, one scientist believes. It could have unintentionally stirred up a plume of mud and realized the effect it had on fish.
Duke University Biologist, Andrew Read, told National Geographic:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the behavior evolved from a single dolphin sorting out the benefits of a mud plume to use as a barrier to fish against, and then realizing that a circle is even better.”
It’s true, the nature of this world really is quite captivating, especially when you get a closer look.
Watch the video below to see the dolphins catch their dinner with a net of mud!
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