Scientists filmed killer whales hunting white sharks for the first time

(ORDO NEWS) — The white shark, the heroine of the famous movie “Jaws”, is usually not perceived by us as someone’s prey.

But off the coast of South Africa, this sinister fish itself becomes the object of hunting for even more formidable marine carnivores – killer whales.

For the first time, scientists were able to capture this exciting spectacle from the air, tracking the behavior of both hunters and prey.

Killer whales are intelligent social animals whose group hunting secures them a position as the apex predator of the ocean, sometimes attacking even giant blue whales.

They do not pass by sharks either: the attacks of these predators on narrow-toothed , flat-headed seven-gill and even giant sharks have been repeatedly recorded .

As for the infamous white sharks , scientists have not recorded killer whale attacks on them for a long time – data on such hunts have been preserved only in written or oral form, but not a single photograph or video has been filmed.

Now, at last, researchers have received the coveted video footage, allowing them to analyze the behavior of both killer whales and sharks.

At least three sharks became victims of the whales, and the hunt itself lasted about an hour. After it, white sharks left the dangerous area for more than a month.

Curiously, one of the killer whales, seen as part of a hunting flock, has already been seen attacking sharks, so it is likely that social learning is involved here, and “shark-eating” among killer whales will only spread.

Scientists have also recorded that sharks, when attacked by killer whales, behave in much the same way as seals and sea turtles during a shark attack: they do not try to swim away, but circle to keep predators in sight.

True, what works in the case of a single hunter does not always work against a pack: while the shark tries to evade one killer whale, the second clings to its side, trying to get to the fatty liver. After that, the fish is doomed.

If the new skill of hunting white sharks really spreads in the population of South African killer whales, there may soon be many more whales stalking predatory fish.

Not only will this affect the abundance of an already vulnerable species , but it will also likely interfere with tour companies arranging excursions to see white sharks.


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