Wild Things: Killer Whales, Spiders and Woodpeckers | Science | Smithsonian
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(Franco Banfi / Oceans-Image / Photoshot)

Wild Things: Killer Whales, Spiders and Woodpeckers

Yellow saddle goatfish, mastodon ribs and more in this month’s summary of wildlife news

Pack Hunters

Yellow saddle goatfish
(Franco Banfi / Oceans-Image / Photoshot)
Lions, orcas, hyenas, some hawks and a few other species hunt collaboratively, and now researchers have added a fish to that list. Yellow saddle goatfish in the Red Sea often congregate. And when one fish starts accelerating toward a prey fish, its associates join the hunt. These “blockers” spread out over the reef to cut off the prey’s escape routes, giving the group of goatfish a better chance at making a successful catch. The behavior was observed by researchers from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Other species of goatfish eat only invertebrates, while the yellow saddle variety chases mainly other fish. The researchers suggest that collaborative hunting may have evolved in this species to allow the goatfish to exploit a faster and more nimble source of food.

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