A ‘super mega-pod’ of 1,00,000 dolphins spanning across a massive 11 kilometres of ocean was sighted off the coast of San Diego in the U.S. recently.
Though dolphins typically travel in groups of 200 or less, experts said “super-pods” are not unheard of.
Captain Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises said he saw a “super mega-pod” of common dolphins last week while he was on his daily tour.
Dutra said the boat tour followed the pod for more than an hour and said he has never seen anything like it, ‘nbcsandiego.com’ reported.
“When you see something that is honestly truly beyond belief,” the captain said, adding the pod was more than 11km long and 8km wide.
Guests aboard the boat started screaming and pointing when they first saw the school of adult and juvenile common dolphins. Dutra estimated there were about 100,000 dolphins swimming in the area. “They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see. I have seen a lot of stuff out here... but this is the biggest I have ever seen, ever,” he said.
Was there food?
Marine mammal expert Sarah Wilkin said the reason the large pod might be there is because there’s plenty of food in the area, including sardines, herring and squid. They are attracted to kind of the same thing, they might wind up in the same place. “They’re definitely social animals, they stick together in small groups,” she said.
According to Wikipedia, one common feeding method of dolphins is herding, where a pod squeezes a school of fish into a small volume, known as a bait ball.
Individual members then take turns ploughing through the ball, feeding on the stunned fish. Corralling is a method where dolphins chase fish into shallow water to catch them more easily. In South Carolina, the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin takes this further with strand feeding, driving prey onto mud banks for easy access. In some places, orcas come to the beach to capture sea lions.
Some species also whack fish with their flukes, stunning them and sometimes knocking them out of the water.PTI