The Snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni), recognized as a species as recently as 2005, have been spotted while utilizing a rare hunting technique previously only noted in the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), a close relative of the Snubfin.

snubfin dolphin Snubfin dolphins hunt for fish by spitting at them

The unusual group hunting technique involves chasing the prey fish to the surface of the ocean and rounding them up by spitting jets of water at them. Once the fish is packed together in a reasonably small “cylinder”, the dolphins move in to devour them.

According to WWF Australia’s marine and coasts manager Lydia Gibson, the behaviour was first noticed in Australia off the Kimberley Coast.

We still know very little about the Snubfin dolphin, which lives along Australia’s northern coast in a number of locations off the Queensland and Northern Territory coasts, as well as the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, chiefly due to habitat destruction. Since Snubfin dolphins live close to shore, they are also more likely to end up in gill nets and drown compared to more pelagic species of dolphin.