Video: What happens in the ocean when a whale dies?

Video Screenshot Zapping Sauvage

What happens to a dead whales carcass at the bottom of the ocean?   In its advanced state of decomposition, around thirty different animal species feed on the the dead whale!

An 8-minute video as featured in the Blue Planet documentary explains what happens to a whales carcass in the ocean. The whale, which was probably hit by a boat and killed, is in such a state of decomposition that it is hard to identify.

The Great White shark is the first to attack the carcass as it is very partial to whale’s blubber.  A rich source of energy, whale blubber forms a large part of a sharks diet. Once the Great Whites have had their feed, smaller Blue Sharks come in on the action. having been attracted by the whales oil drifting in the current. In less than a few days, the carcass will be almost cleaned, or at least almost!

requin carcasse baleine
Credits : Screen shot Youtube / zapping Sauvage

When the carcass sinks to dark ocean depths, other species living in the abyss can have their turn. The Greyed Shark, which lives at depths of between 200 and 2300 metres is the next to get in on the action.  Amazingly, this shark can live up to one year without having anything to eat! The whales blood spread by the first shark, now attracts others and a total of seven sharks share the rest of the carcass over the course of the day.

Once storm is over, other animals arrive to finish the job, specifically a cast of crabs (Maja squinado).  The feast last another month as the whales skeleton disintegrates, attracting Black sabberfish (Aphanopus carbo) which feed on the micro-organisms.  For a further few months, the last edible particles of the corpse of eaten by tiny microbes until there is nothing left.

Related articles :

Talking whale: an orca utters human words

Sea levels could in fact rise by…. 6 meters!

Discovery of a “twilight zone” hidden in the ocean, full of previously unknown fish