Gangs of killer whales have been spotted chasing, biting, suffocating and then devouring the largest creature on the planet: the blue whale.

Researchers documented these orcas, also called killer whales (Orcinus orca), taking down blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) on three separate occasions off the southwestern coast of Australia between 2019 and 2021. Each episode included between 50 and 75 killer whales, and more than a dozen of these orcas took part in all three attacks, according to the study, published online Jan. 21 in the journal Marine Mammal Science. The takedowns seemed particularly brutal, with the orcas jumping on the blue whale’s blowhole, dragging it underwater and, on one occasion, snacking on the live whale’s tongue.


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