Killer Whales Hunt Marine Mammals at Night

Date: 12/2/2014

Scientists found evidence that marine-mammal-eating killer whales eavesdrop on their prey. Previous research showed mammal-eating killer whales are nearly
silent before making a kill. The likely reason, says Volker Deecke, a researcher at the Centre for Wildlife Conservation at the University of Cumbria in the UK, is the excellent hearing of seals, porpoises, and other animals the whales stalk. From tags attached to the whales they identified predation events by the characteristic sound of a whale dispatching its prey with a hit from its tail fluke. The team found that killer whales were successfully locating prey even in near-complete darkness and note that this new evidence of nighttime hunting rules out visual cues as the only means of prey detection.

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