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?
- Lettuces Now, What Next - Could Astronauts Get All Their Oxygen And Food From Algae Or Plants?
- Artificial Intelligence: It's Time To Talk About What Emotions We Want AI To Have
- Brain Size Matters When It Comes To Remembering
- Innate GMO Potato Deregulated By USDA
- Most Idiotic Rejection Of Course From Philosopher Of Science Not Grasping Relativity
- An Historical Moment For Diabetes
- Will You Murder Your Wife?
- "Without a magnetic field on Mars, it should be patently obvious that terraforming attempts would..."
- "For instance would it be possible to measure the g-factor of the top quark? A dirac particle should..."
- "Dr. Federoff is wrong about golden rice being tied up in the regulatory process for more than a..."
- "Turbine operators have an inate drive to reduce all kinds of noise in their turbines - noise is..."
- "This is just warmed-over socialism and amateur Malthusian rhetoric - we have to cull the herd,..."
- Fish oil diet versus gut microbes
- Naps linked to reduced blood pressure and fewer medications
- Why girls are less interested in computer science: Classrooms are too 'geeky'
- Frogs make irrational choices - and what means for understanding animal mating
- Depression, blood pressure extremes predict highest rates of vascular events
Books By Writers Here