Blue whales are picky eaters. It’s not because they’re finicky about flavors; it's the meal's size that matters. The ocean giants eschew small, concentrated groups of krill, opting instead to chow down on massive patches of the small crustaceans. Scientists explain this behavior by theorizing that lunging for food requires whales to exert large amounts of energy, forcing them to be discerning about which floating feasts are worth the effort.
In the video below, which was spotted by Mashable, you can observe a hungry blue whale pursuing its meal. Oregon State University scientists—who filmed the aerial scene in New Zealand using a drone camera—say it illustrates the feeding hypothesis.
“Modeling studies of blue whales ‘lunge-feeding’ theorize that they will not put energy into feeding on low-reward prey patches,” marine ecologist Leigh Torres explains in a press release. “Our footage shows this theory in action. We can see the whale making choices, which is really extraordinary because aerial observations of blue whales feeding on krill are rare.”
Watch the blue whale speed toward the krill patch, slow down, open its mouth wide, and gulp down its dinner: