grouping together to protect themselves from predators, an accepted explanation when smaller fish form baitballs
and slightly less certain as to why starlings form murmurations, they nevertheless once again bridge the gap between birds and fish in their manner, two of the greater pleasures we as people who spend time outside by the water get to witness and in a way, be part of their magic.
i’ve had the great luck witnessing several stunning murmurations as the ones below.
” A bait ball, or baitball, occurs when small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation about a common centre. It is a last-ditch defensive measure adopted by small schooling fish when they are threatened by predators.
This instinctual behaviour is a defense mechanism, as lone individuals are more likely to be eaten than large groups. Bait balls can be 10–20 metres in diameter and extend to a depth of 10 metres. The bait balls are short lived and seldom last longer than 10 minutes.
However, bait balls are also conspicuous, and when schooling fish form a bait ball they can draw the attention of many other predators. As a response to the defensive capabilities of schooling fish, some predators have developed sophisticated countermeasures. These countermeasures can be spectacularly successful, and can seriously undermine the defensive value of forming bait balls. ”
the dramatic, frenzied activity of baitballs is an understandably favorite subject among underwater cinematographers. this one’s a little different as there’s a certain humorous quality which surpasses the actual feeding. enjoy !
quote source: Wikipedia