Dolphins 'Use Sonic Booms To Kill Prey'
Dolphins use sound booms and clicks to stun and
kill their prey, according to scientists who say they have the first video
recordings of dolphins attacking fish with the sonic weapon.
Stunning clicks: dolphins employ sonic weaponry
to catch fish For more than 20 years, scientists have speculated that the
friendly clicks dolphins make could actually be weapons, but no one had ever
seen them in use, nor demonstrated that the sounds could kill fish. Two
scientists in Hawaii and Florida now say they have evidence on videotape, New
Scientist reports today.
In one study Ken Marten of Earthtrust, a
conservation group in Hawaii, recorded a dolphin emitting a sequence of
low-frequency "bangs" while pursuing a fish. Dr Marten noticed that
dolphins near herring shoals emitted low bangs at the frequency the fish hear
best. He suggested that the bangs were designed to damage the fish's hearing
He said: "She was aiming right at him. Pow,
pow, pow." Denise Herzing, of Florida Atlantic University, recorded wild
Atlantic spotted dolphins emitting a medium-frequency buzz while searching for
prey on the seabed. She said buried eels jumped out of the sand, and either
stopped or moved sluggishly as if stunned, giving the dolphin time to catch
Other researchers remained sceptical. Pete Tyack,
of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution near Boston, thought the dolphins
might be using sound to locate their prey, not to stun it. He said: "The
underwater world is unfamiliar to us and you have to be careful with