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the small preying on the large



egood@gladstone.uoregon.edu (Eric H Goodwin) writes:
 

>It seems to me that most animals of *large* stature lack predators.
>Elephants being a prime example but lety me add that as far as i have ever
>read, seen, or heard the large marine mammals lack predators as well,
>except for possibly the killer whale and I dont think that i've ever heard
>of one attacking a blue whale.  I could easily be incorrect but i cannot
>recall ever knowing of such a thing.
>Eric H Goodwin

  There are some reported cases of Great White Shark attacks on large
cetaceans.  The Japanese and Norwegians have reported Great White "tooth
rake marks" on the sides and tails of the large baleen whales that they have
harpooned.  This clearly indicates that predation was the culprit, and not
an abiguous case of scavenging, as these whales survived the shark attacks.
Some of these whales are 10 - 20 times as massive as their selachian
attackers.  There are also "cookie-cutter" sharks that are about 1 - 3 feet
long that attack large whales (and, interestingly, they even attack the
rubber outer skins of Trident-class submarines!).  In the case of the Great
White sharks and the little cookie-cutter shark, the attack on large whales
usually comes from behind and below, as evidenced by the pattern of scarring
on the whales. Douglas Long, a post-doc at U.C. Berkeley, has published a
case study of a medium-sized odontocete that survived a Great White attack.
                              
                               Phil Bigelow