Gourmet dolphin knows to bite off its prey

The bottlenose dolphins teach each other how to remove the tip of the catfish's spines before enjoying the prey.

Ocean biologists discovered that some bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico have bitten off native catfish heads when hunting, National Geographic reported on July 18.

Dolphins often eat raw prey but sometimes picky like filtering fish bones, dividing the task of hunting in coral reefs before eating . However, scientists rarely encounter the behavior of biting off the head. their catfish.

Picture 1 of Gourmet dolphin knows to bite off its prey
The head of the prey is bitten off after the hunt of the bottlenose dolphin.(Photo: Chicago Zoological Society).

Biologist Errol Ronje has discovered many catfish heads left on the sea surface while surveying dolphins outside the Petit Bois island.

"It is not harassment ," said Ronje. "The catfish has a structure that protects the head bone system quite sophisticatedly with three spines with very sharp serrated teeth and snakes in the niches, which can be opened and closed arbitrarily."

The study showed that the behavior of removing catfish head helps the dolphins not injured when eating, but this technique is not widely spread among species. Scientists found that among shallow dolphins, 38 cases were injured by catfish spines. In the body of a dolphin, there are 17 spikes, some spikes stab into the animal's digestive tract.

The interesting point in the study is that individuals who know to bite off prey heads seem to know each other well. Photographs in three areas that detect catfish head in an area of ​​over 300 square kilometers show the same group of 8 dolphins.

"We are talking about culture and cultural transfer in ocean mammals. Techniques are learned and transferred between them," said Stefanie Gazda, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts Boston. "In my opinion, this may be a form of cultural phenomenon ."

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