Shoal of salmon create mesmerising patterns as they evade a sea lion

Catch me if you can! Stunning footage shows a huge shoal of salmon creating mesmerising patterns as they evade a sea lion

  • The huge shoal form a tightly packed spherical formation known as a bate ball
  • The sea lion then swims under the middle of the ball – causing fish the scatter
  • Sea lion then swims back and forth underneath fish – creating patterns in ball 

Amazing footage shows the mesmerizing patterns created by a huge swarm of salmon as they evade a sea lion.

The shoal – which is made up of thousands of fish –  forms a spherical defensive formation known as a bate ball when they are pursued by the sea lion. 

The sea lion then swims under the middle of the ball – causing the fish the scatter and a gap to appear in the centre of it.

Amazing footage shows the mesmerizing patterns created by a huge swarm of salmon as they evade a sea lion

As it prowls underneath the shoal, the fish dissipate and reshape – creating stunning swirling patterns. 

British videographer Nick Holton, originally from Bristol, Gloucestershire but now living in Sydney, captured the footage on his drone on May 9, 2019, near the coast of Sydney, Australia after spotting a shadow in the ocean 

He said: ‘When I got the drone out there near the bait ball I saw one sea lion hunting in the swell on the way out, using the waves to surf in on the unsuspecting salmon. 

‘And as I flew on towards the huge bait-ball, I saw a second sea lion wreaking havoc with a prolonged attack, causing the salmon to shift and re-shape as one. 

‘It was a stunning spectacle to see, with the sea lion punching holes in the bait ball from every angle, before eventually cruising off as the sun rose.’ 

A bate ball is a last ditch defensive measure performed by a school of fish when they are pursued by predators. 

The sea lion then swims under the middle of the ball – causing the fish the scatter and a gap to appear in the centre of it

As it moves around underneath the shoal the fish dissipate and creating stunning patterns in the bate ball

Fish perform this action because there is a greater chance of individual fish being eaten than ones in a group. 

When they are hunting, sea lions open their pupils really wide to help them see clearly underwater.

Sea lions’ whiskers grow to around 30cm – the longest of any mammal.   

 They move their whiskers backwards and forwards to feel the size, shape and texture of fish  – which helps find the biggest and tastiest meal. 

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