In studying Adélie penguins, Japanese researchers decided to add some modern technology to the mix, affixing tiny cameras equipped with sensors to them. The cameras are a way to better understand the hunting behaviors of the birds.
The Telegraph reports, "The video cameras weighs [sic] just 33 grams each and are fitted with depth gauges and thermometers, allowing researchers to see exactly what the Adelie penguin sees when it goes out to catch krill and other prey in its native Antarctica. Yuuki Watanabe, of 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."While the researchers found out cool facts, like an Adele penguin can catch two krill in less than one second, the information goes much deeper than the wow-factor. Researchers need to know how much Adele penguins need to eat, as well as where and how they are hunting, so that we can better understand things like conservation measures needed for the birds.
As we know from South African penguins, overfishing and changes in ocean temperatures are affecting their prey source, which means the populations of the penguins are affected. South African penguins are now an endangered species. Adélie penguins are a near-threatened species on the IUCN Red List and learning more about their food sources and how they hunt will help scientists, conservationists and policy makers alike.
Meanwhile, check out the video above -- those fish don't stand a chance!