Herring + whales + bacteria =

When different species meet, interesting things can happen. Here’s a case in point:

Digestion of herring by indigenous bacteria in the minke whale forestomach,” Monica A. Olsen, Tove H. Aagnes and Svein D. Mathiesen, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, December 1994, p. 4445-4455. The authors, at the University of Tromso, Norway, report:
“Northeastern Atlantic minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) have a multichambered stomach system which includes a nonglandular forestomach… Scanning electron microscopic examinations revealed large numbers of bacteria, surrounded by a glycocalyx, attached to partly digested food particles in the forestomach. These data support the hypothesis that symbiotic microbial digestion occurs in the forestomach and that the bacteria are indigenous to minke whales.”