Bottlenose Dolphins Find Fish in Conch Shells
by Owen James Burke
Bottlenose dolphins of Shark Bay, Western Australia have been discovered using a method referred to as “conching” for hunting. They pick up conch shells from the bottom, bring them to the surface, and shake free small fish, which then fall into the dolphin’s mouth.
“It’s a dense population and you need to be very cluey to work out how you can best exploit your environment to get enough food,”
says Murdoch University researcher Simon Allen.
Other strange foraging techniques that bottlenose have been known to employ are “kerplunking,” or scaring prey out of vegetation using a slap of the tail that confuses fish in a swirling mass of bubbles, and “sponging,” in which the dolphin grabs a sponge to protect its rostra, or beak, in order to protect itself from sharp coral while in search of more nutritious but evasive sustenance on the seafloor.