According to marine specialists, two killer whales were recently discovered killing 17 broad-nose seven-gill sharks and devouring their livers.
Sevengill sharks have long been a prey item for killer whales, orcas, or at least this pair of males.
Two orcas, in particular, were reported to be munching on the species in 2015, according to researchers.
A drone caught them in the deed in October of last year.
In a single day off the coast of South Africa this past weekend, two orcas known as Port and Starboard—named for the left and right slants of their respective dorsal fins—attacked and killed more than a dozen broad nose seven-gill sharks, according to marine scientists.
According to Earthsky.org, killer whales are not dangerous to humans despite their reputation.
After dissecting their prey and devouring the liver, the orcas left the remainder of the shark carcasses to wash up on the beach.
Marine biologist Alison Kock posted on Twitter, “At least 17 seven gill sharks have been killed by infamous killer whale pair Port & Starboard this week in South Africa.”
Only the livers were consumed, and the remaining carcasses washed up on the shore.
In 2015, she and her study team first noticed the whales pursuing seven gills, then two years later, great whites, Kock reported.
Two of the great whites the pair consumed were pregnant, she observed. Some great whites were so terrified that they fled and found a new gathering spot.
EarthSky says the liver is a prized meal because it is a large organ that accounts for a third of the shark’s body weight. It is packed with minerals and fat.
According to Kock, the orcas most likely developed their ability to target the liver by trial and error.
When they first begin to predate a new species, “they probably initially learn by experience,” she noted. They will never forget the location of the liver or any other body component they are particularly interested in, and they will work more effectively.