Dolphins Go Fishing With Seashells
“Already famed as Earth’s first tool-using marine mammals, the bottlenose dolphins of Australia’s Shark Bay have proved handy yet again: by using conch shells to trap tasty fish, then shaking them into their mouths like sardines from a tin.
Unlike sponging, however, in which dolphins use sponges to find fishes hiding in mud, conching isn’t yet widespread in Shark Bay. It appears to be a relatively new innovation, pioneered by a few individuals and finally catching on.
“The extent to which the conch shell is manipulated and the rarity of the behavior suggest that ‘conching’ takes some skill and practice and might thus be another rare individual foraging tactic in Shark Bay,” wrote biologists led by the University of Zurich’s Michael Krutzen in Marine Mammal Science.”