Wild

Footage Captures Ocean Phenomenon Of Dolphin’s “Mud Rings”

February 5th, 2021

Dolphins are intelligent creatures.

One quick search and you’ll find hundreds of videos supporting that scientific fact.

There are many behaviors that seem to support this – including one hunting trick dolphins off the Florida coast developed involving “mud rings,” which is as fascinating to watch as it is brilliant.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pixabay Source: Pixabay

In the documentary, One Life, presented by BBC Earth, they shared footage of the dolphins’ technique that helps them capture large quantities of fish. It’s been viewed millions of times.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pixabay/Paulo rpaulosoares Source: Pixabay/Paulo rpaulosoares

Take for instance bottlenose dolphins.

According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation site, there are ones in Australia referred to as “spongers” that will pick up sea-sponges and keep them in their mouths while hunting on the ocean floor, so they don’t scrape up their noses.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Australian dolphins swim with conch shells in their mouths and then bring them to the surface.

Then, they dump out the water and feast on the tiny fish left at the bottom. They know gourmet!

Pretty clever, don’t you think?

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pixabay/Donna Opfer Source: Pixabay/Donna Opfer

The bottlenose dolphins near Florida invented a way to trap their prey with ease, using a method that helps bring them to the surface.

It starts with one of the dolphins vigorously flapping its tail while swimming at high speed.

This helps stir up mud from the seabed, which is the main tool in this trick.

swiggle1 dot pattern2

YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

The dolphin swims in a decreasing circle pattern. When the mud comes billowing up in a circle shape, it essentially creates a fishing net. Watching it from above is mesmerizing.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

The fish are caught in the ring and are desperate to escape so they jump from the surface of the water where the dolphins are waiting for their tasty meal.

The dolphins display this brilliant technique, and over and over the dolphins’ prey comes leaping out – with the ring keeping them contained to the area. Using little effort the dolphins are able to indulge in a feast. That puts a spin on “all you can eat”!

swiggle1 dot pattern2

YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Interestingly enough, this isn’t just a typical hunting method for dolphins. As the narrator of One Life points out:

“These dolphins are the only ones to have developed this hunting behavior, and it gives them an edge. This sort of advantage may mean the difference between life and death in the survival of the fittest.”

How the Florida dolphins learned to carry out the technique may have come from a single dolphin’s experience, one scientist believes. It could have unintentionally stirred up a plume of mud and realized the effect it had on fish.

Duke University Biologist, Andrew Read, told National Geographic:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the behavior evolved from a single dolphin sorting out the benefits of a mud plume to use as a barrier to fish against, and then realizing that a circle is even better.”

swiggle1 dot pattern2

YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Told you these dolphins are smart. They are so fascinating to watch. There are even instances of dolphins helping and rescuing swimmers from drowning or sharks. So what’s your favorite “smart” animal?

Watch the video below to see the dolphins catch their dinner with a net of mud!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: BBC Earth, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, National Geographic, Popular Science

Advertisement
Advertisement