Orcas hunt a great white shark here
The great white shark is actually considered an unbeatable predator. The situation is different off the coast of South Africa. Groups of killer whales attack great white sharks there — and especially like to eat their liver, as new recordings show.
JEveryone knows it, the theme song of the movie “Jaws”. Two notes are sounded alternately. Very slow: thin thin. Then faster: thin thin, thin thin – until you feel the animal is right below you.
Great white sharks are considered dangerous underwater hunters – actually. However, in Mossel Bay, a port city off the coast of South Africa, the animals are being chased by another predator: the orca. A recently released aerial photo shows several killer whales attacking and killing a great white shark.
According to a team of researchers, the battle between orca and shark could have consequences for the local ecosystem. But before we tell you more, let’s show you the video first (we recommend fast-forwarding to 0:51 – but be careful, trigger warning: the video contains explicit scenes):
Orca vs Shark: Hunting Orcas
The attack took place on May 16, 2022. A recording of the dispute, filmed with a drone by researcher Christiaan Stopfortch, was broadcast in the summer on the American television network Discovery Channel on the occasion of the annualshark week” (in German: “Shark Week”). At the time, it was assumed that the orcas attacked the shark as a duo.
At the same time, however, a helicopter pilot who provides flights for tourists was able to film the orca hunt. By watching both videos, researchers from South Africa found that a total of five orcas participated in the attack.
The marine scientists have now published the aerial image as part of a new study. Her focus: To better understand the hunting behavior of orcas. “At least two and possibly three great white sharks were killed on May 16 by a group of orcas in Mossel Bay over a period of about 71 minutes,” the study authors write. Researcher Alison Towner explains in a press release:
This behavior has never been observed in detail, and certainly not from the air.
With this tactic the whales subdue their prey
The new recording shows one of five orcas turning a great white shark onto its back, causing it to freeze. The whale then bites its prey behind the pectoral fins in the abdomen. Result: The shark’s liver emerges from the wound and rises to the surface of the water. A coveted snack for the killer whale.
According to the study authors, a single great white shark liver provides the daily energy needs of an adult male orca. Shark carcasses with bite marks behind the pectoral fin and a missing liver were recently discovered off the coast of South Africa. Towner and her colleagues suspect a “cultural transmission” of hunting behavior between orcas.
The sharks, in turn, try to escape from the orcas. They circle in a close circle around the whales while keeping an eye on their attacker. This maneuver is also used by seals to escape sharks. Since killer whales hunt in packs, this tactic doesn’t seem to do much good.
Mossel Bay: home of the great white shark
There are usually great white sharks in Mossel Bay all the time. However, after the killer whale attack in May, the predators apparently stayed away longer. Just 45 days later, on July 1, another great white shark was spotted.
Study author Alison Kock describes, “The sharks previously abandoned important habitats, which had a significant impact on both the ecosystem and shark tourism.” .
Incidentally, this “shark” is causing a stir in the US: