US Navy’s camera-wielding dolphins reveal wild side of the sea-mammal

The researchers published their findings in the journal PLoS One, wherein they stated that the dolphins consumed an array of creatures ranging from bass to croakers, halibut to pipefish, as well as smelt during their open-sea swims. When they caught sea snakes, the dolphins jerked their heads to swallow their catch.

The cameras also captured the eye movement of the fish as they tracked their prey. When the prey jumped, the dolphins’ eyes continued to track the prey, Gizmodo said in its report.

If fish continued to swim when they entered the dolphin’s mouth, the animal appears to use a tactic used by toothed whales and other marine animals, where they expand their throat to suck down their prey.

Other countries like Russia and North Korea are also using dolphins as part of their naval strategies, we have previously reported.

Abstract

For the first time, dolphins wearing video cameras were observed capturing and eating live native fish. While freely swimming in San Diego Bay, one dolphin caught 69 resident fish, 64 demersal, 5 near surface, while the other caught 40, 36 demersal and 4 near the surface. Two other dolphins were observed capturing 135 live native fish in a sea water pool. Two additional dolphins were observed feeding opportunistically during open water sessions in the Pacific Ocean. Notably, one of these dolphins was observed to consume 8 yellow-bellied sea snakes (Hydrophis platurus). Searching dolphins clicked at intervals of 20 to 50 ms. On approaching prey, click intervals shorten into a terminal buzz and then a squeal. Squeals were bursts of clicks that varied in duration, peak frequency, and amplitude. Squeals continued as the dolphin seized, manipulated and swallowed the prey. If fish escaped, the dolphin continued the chase and sonar clicks were heard less often than the continuous terminal buzz and squeal. During captures, the dolphins’ lips flared to reveal nearly all of the teeth. The throat expanded outward. Fish continued escape swimming even as they entered the dolphins’ mouth, yet the dolphin appeared to suck the fish right down.

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