[MARMAM] Dolphin and Sea Lion Feeding Behavior question

Emily Pratt emily_j_pratt at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 4 09:43:09 PST 2009

Hi MARMAM'ers,
An interesting spectacle has been happening off the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California for the last few days.  Many of our seasoned Aquarium staff members have never seen anything like it.  Does anyone have research which documents the following behavior?
Several dolphins, 4 at a time, flanked by sea lions on each end, are coordinating attacks on a massive bait ball of anchovies.  The dolphins with sea lions on either side are one right next to the other (linear formation) and then attack the bait ball together.  We've seen dolphins before doing similar behaviors.  The sea lions joining in was new.  The bait ball is at least one hundred yards in all directions from the pier.  And it is so thick you cannot see past it, when you look down towards the bottom of the ocean.
Thank you for any information.  As we said, this is quite an incredible thing to see for us!
Emily Pratt
Heal the Bay/ Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

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