Thursday, January 24th 2013 - 08:00 UTC

Adelie penguins filmed in underwater hunting skills with miniature video cameras

Miniature cameras attached to a penguin's head have given Japanese scientists a bird's eye view of the creature's incredible underwater hunting skills. Using video cameras weighing just 33 grams and equipped with accelerometers, depth gauges and thermometers, researchers were able to see exactly what the Adelie penguin sees when it goes out to catch krill and other prey in its native Antarctica.

Professor Yuuki Watanabe from Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research

A pair of Adelie penguins before going for a ‘feed dip’

Adelie penguins can only survive in a sea ice environment

Chief researcher Yuuki Watanabe from the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo said the team was amazed to discover that the bird adapts its hunting behaviour depending on what it is trying to snare.

Watanabe said the accelerometer -- a device also used in mobile phones, tablet computers and games consoles -- allowed researchers to precisely measure the bird's head movements and showed how one penguin could catch two krill in under a second.

“Now we know what the Adelie penguin preys on and how much it eats, we can understand how the penguin survives and how it relates to its environment” he said.

The penguin's fragile Antarctic habitat is at risk from climate change, with scientists warning that as pack ice melts, their numbers could fall dramatically.

Watanabe said the tiny cameras and micro equipment had given researchers a much better understanding of how the penguin lives.

“We now understand how much they rely on those fish that inhabit water just below the sea ice, which means that Adelie penguins can only survive in a sea ice environment,” said Watanabe. (Discovery News).-

2 comments Feed

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1 Clyde15 (#) Jan 24th, 2013 - 12:14 pm Report abuse
Where can we see the pictures ?
2 ChrisR (#) Jan 24th, 2013 - 07:44 pm Report abuse
TMBOA will be accusing them of militarising the penguins.

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