Drone footage captured of two humpback whales shows how they formed an enthralling spiral of bubbles to capture fish in Antarctica.
In the spectacular aerial footage, captured by photographer and drone pilot Piet van den Bemd, the pair of humpback whales are seen working together in the Antarctica to form a spiral bubble net to hunt for prey.
In the footage, the two massive humpback whales create a mesmerizing spiral — that is a bubble net where the fish become trapped near the surface of the water in a net of bubbles — to capture prey.
In the extraordinary video, a three-layered spiral of bubbles is filmed rising to the ocean surface, with the two large whales then surfacing right through the center.
‘A Rare Event’
Photographer van den Bemd, who spends about four months a year in Antarctica and five months in the High Arctic region, says that witnessing humpback whales making a bubble spiral is rare.
“What you are watching is two humpback whales in synchronous bubble net feeding — an impressive, coordinated hunting strategy among humpback whales,” van den Bemd tells Newsweek.
The photographer explains that he said he gets to witness this particular hunting strategy “every now and then” during the time he spends in the polar regions but “still, it’s a rare event.”
In this case, the whales create a “Fibonacci” spiral which is a geometric visualization of the Fibonacci sequence, which is when each number in a sequence is the sum of the two numbers that come before it, such as 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.
“This time the whales performed so perfectly. The Fibonacci [spiral] shape executed perfectly made it incredible and a moment to absolutely never forget,” van den Bemd tells Newsweek.
“In all the time I have spent here, I never managed to capture it this way.”
According to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, bubble net feeding is a “complex, highly synchronized” group hunting strategy that involves “communication and cooperation, demonstrating signs of high social intelligence.”
To make it happen, the whales have to dive deep below the ocean, where they then create bubbles through their blowholes to stun and trap fish closer to the surface.
“One whale generally leads the effort followed by the rest of the group,” the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation explains.
“The leader will usually be responsible for blowing the bubbles and the other members will surround the fish, following them to the surface by swimming in spiral patterns to keep the fish trapped.”