Dolphins shown to be chefs of the sea?

January 31, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Dolphins seem to go through elaborate preparations to rid cuttlefish of ink and bone to produce a soft meal of calamari, according to a study.

A wild female  was observed going through a series of complicated steps to prepare cuttlefish for eating in the Spencer Gulf, in South Australia.

Study co-author Tom Tregenza, from the University of Exeter, who observed wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins said the behaviour exhibited between 2003 and 2007 was unlikely to be a rarity.

The research team, writing in the science journal PLoS One, said they repeatedly observed a female dolphin herding cuttlefish out of algal weed and onto a clear, sandy patch of seafloor.

The dolphin, would pin the cuttlefish with its snout while standing on its head, before killing it instantly with a rapid downward thrust and “loud click” audible to divers as the hard cuttlebone broke.

The dolphin then lifted the body up and beat it with her nose to drain the toxic black ink that cuttlefish squirt into the water to defend themselves when attacked.

Next the prey was taken back to the seafloor, where the dolphin scraped it along the sand to strip out the cuttlebone, making the cuttlefish soft for eating.

“It’s a sign of how well their brains are developed. It’s a pretty clever way to get pure calamari without all the horrible bits,” Mark Norman, the curator of molluscs at Museum Victoria.

Other researchers have observed dolphins removing the spines from flathead fish prey and breaking meter-long Golden Trevally fish into smaller pieces for eating.


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