How Giant Creatures Eat Tiny Meals: 5 Fabulous Filter Feeders | Summary and Q&A

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November 15, 2020
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How Giant Creatures Eat Tiny Meals: 5 Fabulous Filter Feeders

TL;DR

Ocean giants, including blue whales, gray whales, whale sharks, megamouth sharks, and manta rays, have evolved unique feeding strategies to sustain themselves by filtering tiny organisms out of the water.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do blue whales sustain themselves on krill when they need a significant amount of energy?

Blue whales have evolved lunge feeding, where they build up speed, open their mouths wide, and engulf krill and water. The water is filtered out through the baleen plates, leaving only krill behind.

Q: How do gray whales feed on amphipods when they live in burrows on the seafloor?

Gray whales suction the mud and water above the seafloor with their mouths, pushing out the mud and leaving the amphipods stuck on their baleen plates.

Q: What are the different feeding methods of whale sharks?

Whale sharks have three feeding methods: passive feeding, where they swim with their mouths open; suction feeding, where they vertically hang and suction prey; and ram feeding, where they swim and suction simultaneously.

Q: How do manta rays filter-feed without clogging their plates?

Manta rays have rows of plates that create little whirlpools, pushing food particles up and preventing them from sticking. The particles gather in the ray's mouth as water drains away.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Ocean giants such as blue whales, gray whales, whale sharks, megamouth sharks, and manta rays have evolved different feeding strategies to efficiently extract energy from tiny organisms.

  • Blue whales utilize baleen plates to filter and feed on krill, using the technique of lunge feeding to engulf large volumes of water and krill.

  • Gray whales employ suction to feed on amphipods burrowed in the seafloor, while also exhibiting flexibility in hunting other prey such as herring.

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