It was the year 2000, I think, and I was on a college field trip to the tidepools. The class was Invertebrate Zoology, so we were flipping rocks over and listing off the phyla as fast as we could identify them. Then someone lifted a big slab and gasped: there was a red octopus, chowing down on a shore crab.
I remember this scene so vividly in part because I love octopuses, but also because of a comment the professor made: "This is remarkable, because it's really quite rare to see an act of predation in the wild."
Surprising perhaps, but true. Predation events tend to happen very quickly. Predators are vulnerable while they're eating, so they snarf down their food at lightening speeds and/or hide while they're eating--like the octopus.
I was reminded of this story because of a fantastic photo in the news: not an act of predation per se, but direct evidence of a very recent act. This is the sperm whale equivalent of getting a splash of soup on your chin:
From New Zealand's Marlborough Express.
It's a squid arm! The rest of the squid, I'm sure, is being actively digested within. Apparently a whale-watching tour off Kaikoura (on the South Island) spotted this messy diner and snapped a picture.
It must be tough to be a whale, with no opposable thumbs to wield a napkin.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Metal Hip Replacements Implanted Since 2006 More Prone To Failure
- The Number Of My Publications Has Four Digits
- Professor Frenkel: Why Shouldn't We Drop Algebra From Our Education System?
- Matter Can Potentially Accelerate The Expansion Of The Universe
- The Geology Of Wine
- Exposure To Particulate Air Pollutants Associated With Numerous Cancers
- Why Fraternal Twins Run In Families
- "In Reading University Library there is a most interesting book Felix Klein and Sophus Lie by I..."
- "Correction (will merge this into the article later): Orange dwarf stars have lifetimes of 15 -..."
- "Lobos, after what you say about academia, I still wander why you keep the Harvard Veritas coat..."
- "For a pedagogical introduction to the Friedmann equations, see for instance this set of lectures..."
- "of course they can adopt to the thinking of humans because they programmed by humans so whatever..."
- The Lancet Psychiatry: Depression symptoms that steadily increase in later life predict higher dementia risk, study shows
- Is breast conserving therapy or mastectomy better for early breast cancer?
- Failure to publish trial results exposes patients to risks without providing benefits
- Newly discovered baby Titanosaur sheds light on dinosaurs' early lives
- Forming fogbows: Study finds limit on evaporation to ice sheets, but that may change