Tag Archive: whales


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetartiodactyla
Family: Eschrichtiidae

Genus/species: Eschrichtius robustus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: This species is mottled dark to light grey and is encrusted with patches of barnacles and orange whale lice. Unlike Humpback whales, Grey whales lack a dorsal fin and instead has a series of bumps along a dorsal ridge on the final third of the back. Gray whales have small, paddle-shaped flippers, compared to the large white flippers of Humpback whales.
Length to 14 m (46 ft).
Weigh to 36,000 kg (79,300 pounds).

(see links below for live animal photos under references).

Grey Whale18204939731_f69eecb43a_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Now found only in the North Pacific and adjacent waters. E. robustus are primarily bottom feeders and are thus restricted to shallow continental shelf waters for feeding.

DIET: The only cetacean to feed by straining the sediment on the sea floor. mainly for bottom-dwelling crustaceans but also worms and mollusks. Water, sand and mud are expelled through the baleen and food is then swallowed.
Sufficient fat reserves are stored in the feeding grounds to allow individuals to go without food during the breeding season; on return to the feeding grounds about a third of the body weight may have been lost.

REPRODUCTION: The breeding cycle last two years. Gestation takes about 13 months and the single calf is then suckled for a further seven months. The mother may have to hold the calf near the surface to help it to breathe during the first few hours after birth.

E. robustus makes the longest migration of any mammal known, each autumn and spring they pass between their Arctic summer feeding grounds and the mating and calving lagoons in Baja California.
Round-trip up to 20,400 kilometres (12,676 miles).

LONGEVITY: 25 to 80 years.

PREDATION: The only non-human predator of Gray whales is the Killer whale with up to 18% of all Gray whales showing evidence of an Orca attack.

CONSERVATION: IUCN RED LIST Least Concern (LC)
The Eastern North Pacific population has made a significant recovery since 1947 when whaling stopped for this species and now they number between 19,000 – 23,000, which may be close to their original population size.
Three gray whale breeding lagoons in Mexico enjoy some protection in the form of limitations on boating, fishing and coastal development.

Threats: Collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing nets and pollution. Habitat degradation resulting from drilling and dredging is also a problem.

REMARKS: The California Academy’s Gray whale was a juvenile that beached in Baja California in 1966. It would have been about 35 feet long while alive. The two small, hanging, isolated bones towards the tail are remnants of pelvic bones, evidence that whales descended from four-legged land mammals that returned to the ocean about 53 million years ago.

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent program Whale  information March 2015

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/8097/0

ARKive  www.arkive.org/gray-whale/eschrichtius-robustus/

Ron’s flickr link www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/18204939731/in/album-72…

Shirihai, H & Jarrett (2006) Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World Princeton University Press.

Evans, P & Weinrich, M (2002) Whales Dolphins and Porpoises D K London New York Munich Melbourne and Delhi.

Reeves, R, R, et al (2002) Guide to Marine Mammals of the World  Chanticleer Press, Inc.

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5851&action=edit

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Balaenopteridae

Genus/species: Balaenoptera musculus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived, (almost as big as a Boeing 737. They are actually grayish-blue, with a mottled effect that is visible in some lights and can allow individuals to be identified. 50 people could stand on the tongue, which alone weighs as much as an elephant. The heart of the blue whale is the size of a small car (Volkswagen Beetle).
Blubber can be up to 51 cm (20 inches) thick. The spout of a blue whale can be 9 m (30 ft) high.
Weigh to 203,210 kg or 200 tons (448,000 pounds), as much
as 40 elephants.
Length to nearly 110 feet (33 m (110 ft)

Blue Whale18204939131_ab0b4836d7_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: B. musculus inhabit the open ocean, where they ares found in every ocean except the Arctic, with a range that extends from the periphery of drift-ice in polar seas to the tropics, although it is absent from some seas such as the Mediterranean, Okhotsk and Bering Sea.

They inhabit the open ocean, where it is found most frequently along the continental shelf edge and near polar ice. It feeds at both the surface and to depths of at least 100 m (300 feet).

DIET: Feeds mainly on shrimp-like krill, which are filtered through the baleen plates. Large volumes of water and food can be taken into the mouth because the pleated grooves in the throat expand. As the mouth closes, water is expelled through the baleen plates, which trap the food on the inside to be swallowed. During the summer months, one blue whale can eat more than 4,082 kg (9,000 lbs) of krill every day (up to 40 million krill a day).

REPRODUCTION: Reaches sexual maturity at 7 to 10 years of age, A calf is produced after 10 to 11 months of gestation which is 7 m (23 ft) long and weighs about 27,215 kg (30 tons or 60,000 pounds) and consumes around 190 liters (50 gallons) of the mother’s fat rich-milk resulting in a daily weight gain of about 90 kg (200 pounds).
Weaning occurs at the summer feeding grounds at about seven months old.

B. musculus produces louder calls than any other animal on earth. It appears to have functions in sensing the environment, prey detection and communication with male display.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Endangered (EN).
No Blue whales have been deliberately caught since 1978. Today, there are an estimated 10,000 to 25,000 Blue whales surviving worldwide, which represents around 2 to 11 percent of the total pre-commercial exploitation population.

California Blue whale numbers are rising, and are possibly close to carrying capacity, according to a new study in Marine Mammal Science. The B. musculus whale population is estimated at about 2,200, or 97 percent of the estimated historical level. t’s a conservation success story. (Approximately 3,400 California Blue whales were caught between 1905 and 1971.)

Primary threats
1. vessel strikes
2. fisheries interactions

Additional threats
1. anthropogenic noise
2. habitat degradation
3. pollution
4. vessel disturbance
5. long-term changes in climate

REMARKS: They can dive 150 m (500 ft) below the surface and remain underwater for 30 minutes.

The Blue whale produces louder calls than any other animal on earth. It appears to have functions in sensing the environment, prey detection and communication with male display.

The California Academy’s Blue whale is an 26.5 m (87-ft) long male that weighed about 80 tons with a 6 m (20-ft) long skull. It was captured for its oil off the coast of Vancouver Island in 1908. It gave 60 barrels of oil and 181 kg (400 lbs) of baleen, the latter used for corsets, buggy whips, and other light-weight yet durable products. The Academy acquired the bones in 1915, and they were buried in the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park until they were ready for mounting, which was completed in 1917 in an open shed.

References

West Coast Blue Whales journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone…

California Academy of Sciences www.calacademy.org/explore-science/blue-whale-survival

California Academy of Sciences  www.calacademy.org/explore-science/blue-whale-population-…

IUCN Red List (March, 2011)  www.iucnredlist.org

NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources – Blue whale www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/whales/blue-wha…

ARKive www.arkive.org/blue-whale/balaenoptera-musculus/

Shirihai, H & Jarrett (2006) Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World Princeton University Press.

Evans, P & Weinrich, M (2002) Whales Dolphins and Porpoises D K London New York Munich Melbourne and Delhi.

Reeves, R, R, et al (2002) Guide to Marine Mammals of the World   Chanticleer Press, Inc.

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5843&action=edit

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae (Killer whales are the largest of the dolphin family)

Genus/species: Oricnus orca

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Black on top with white undersides and white patches near their eyes; highly variable gray or white saddle behind the dorsal fins. They have the second heaviest brain among marine mammals (only the sperm whale which has the heaviest brain of any animal is heavier.

For photos in the wild see reference links below.

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Males: Up to 10 m (32 ft) in length and can weigh up to 10,000 kg (22,000 pounds).
Females; Up to 8.5 m (28 ft) in length and can weigh up to 7,500 kg (16,500 pounds).

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: The most widely distributed marine mammals. Ten ectotypes are found in all parts of the oceans; most abundant in colder waters, including Antarctica, the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

DIET: They swim in groups, like wolf packs and may reach speed bursts of 55 Kilometers (34 miles) per hour while hunting fish, marine mammals and sharks. Off Shore Orcas’ teeth are worn down from eating small sharks (generally dogfish), which have rough skin. See the teeth offshore Orca 0139 above. Orca depend heavily on underwater sound for orientation, feeding, and communication.
Some Orcas work together to ‘herd’ fish, before stunning the prey with strikes from the tail flukes, or join together in coordinated attacks on large whales.

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REPRODUCTION: O. orca reach sexual maturity when they grow to about 4.6 m-5.4 m (15-18 ft) long, There is no distinct calving season. Newborns are up to 2.4 m (8 ft) long and weighing about 180 kg (400 pounds).
They are nursed for at least a year, and may be weaned between 1-2 years old. It is thought that females give birth about every 5 years for an average period of 25 years.

PREDATORS: None.  Killer whales are marine apex predators.

LONGEVITY: 60-80 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist: data deficient (DD).
All marine mammals, including Killer whales, are protected in the United States. Global population at a minimum of about 50,000 animals.

Threats: Orca are also sometimes seen as competitors by fishermen and are often shot as a result. In addition, the orca may occasionally be caught accidentally in trawl and driftnet fisheries and overfishing can reduce its food supply.
Toxin accumulations that settle in their fatty tissue, such as PCBs, PBDEs and brominated fire retardants, are other hazards.

REMARKS: Highly social matriarchal societies; relying on underwater sound for orientation, feeding, and communication. They have relatively stable social groups that often range in size from 2 to 15 animals. Groups as large as several hundred individuals are rare.

Three types of Killer whales differ in morphology, ecology, behavior, and genetics. Resident, Transient, and Offshore.

Resident Orca remain in one general area, in small family groups, and prefer salmon as their main prey item. In the U.S. North Pacific.

Transient Orca are found throughout the eastern North Pacific, and have primarily been studied in coastal waters. Their geographic range overlaps that of the resident and offshore Killer whales. They often eat marine mammals, and migrating gray whale calves.

Offshores Orca have the largest geographic range of any Killer whale community in the northeastern Pacific and often occur 15 km (9 miles) or more offshore. They also are found in coastal waters and occasionally enter protected inshore waters congregating in groups of 20-75 animals with occasional sightings of larger groups up to 200 animals.

SPECIAL NOTE: This Offshore Orca was known to scientists before it died. It was last seen near Vancouver Island in Sept. 2011. This 5.5 m (18 ft) Killer Whale was discovered washed up on a beach Point Reyes, California Nov., 2011. Orca 0139 was collected and examined and was noted to have a broken rib which was the likely cause of death.  The ID was was confirmed by photos of his dorsal fin and saddle patch. It has been on display at the California Academy of Sciences since 2013. Alive, he weighed between 1360 kg – 1,800 kg (3000 and 4000 pounds), and was about 5.4 m (18 ft) long. His head alone weighed 91 kg (200 pounds).

Off Shore Orca 0139 has been on display at the California Academy of Sciences since 2013.

Version 2

References

California Academy of Sciences Docent program Whale information information March 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/18016037680/in/album-72157652727235908/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5834&action=edit&postpost=v2

 ARKive  www.arkive.org/orca/orcinus-orca/

 IUCN Red list:  www.iucnredlist.org/details/15421/0

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/whales/killer-whale….

 Shirihai, H & Jarrett (2006) Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World Princeton University Press.

 Evans, P & Weinrich, M (2002) Whales Dolphins and Porpoises D K London New York Munich Melbourne and Delhi.

 Reeves, R, R, et al (2002) Guide to Marine Mammals of the World Chanticleer Press, Inc.

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Eutheria
Order: Cetartiodactyla (whales and even-toed ungulates)
Family: Balaenopteridae

Genus/species: Megaptera novaeangliae

Humpback whale

 A group of Humpback whales will locate a large group of small fishes and then blow bubbles from their blowholes as they circle toward the surface. The ring of bubbles forms a “bubble-net” which the fishes and or krill perceive as solid.  The fishes are compressed and the multiple whales then rise in unison to the surface inside the “bubble net” with their mouths open and their pleats expanded for a maxium catch of herring, caplin or sandlance.

All together now coming up

DSC_0332

Big gulp

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The water is expelled through their comb-like baleen (made of keratin) while their tongue sweeps the fishes down their throat.

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Waving good-bye with their flukes elevated and preparing a new bubble-net.

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Note: Flippering:  When a Humpback raises one or both flippers out of the water and slaps them against the water (see above).

Kickfeeding: The Humpback raises and slams his rear flukes against the water surface to stun fishes and then dives and surfaces to engulf the stunned fishes.

REMARKS Individual Humpbacks may lunge into schools of fishes or krill under water.

References

WordPress link:    https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5820&action=edit

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/17227254903/in/album-72…

Oxford Journals Integrative & Comparative Biology icb.oxfordjournals.org/content/51/1/203.full

IUCN red list 2008  www.iucnredlist.org/details/13006/0

IUCN Red List (July, 2009) www.iucnredlist.org

Monterey bay aquarium  www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/marine-mammals/h…

National Geographic animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/humpback-w…

ARKive  www.arkive.org/humpback-whale/megaptera-novaeangliae/vide…

Shirihai, H & Jarrett (2006) Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World Princeton University Press.

Evans, P & Weinrich, M (2002) Whales Dolphins and Porpoises D K London New York Munich Melbourne and Delhi.

Reeves, R, R, et al (2002) Guide to Marine Mammals of the World   Chanticleer Press, Inc.

Buffington K, et al (1992) Whales Scholastic Professional Books

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Eutheria
Order: Cetartiodactyla (whales and even-toed ungulates)
Family: Balaenopteridae

Genus/species: Megaptera novaeangliae

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Named for its stocky body with a distinctive hump formed by its black back when about to take a long dive. On the underside of the mouth are 12 to 36 throat pleats or grooves, which can expand when filtering water during feeding. Baleen is mostly black. Humpback whale 

M. novaeangliae  have knobbly heads, covered in many raised lumps (‘tubercles’) and barnacles. There are two blowholes. Unusually long pectoral fins with a characteristic serrated leading edge are adapted for high maneuverability associated with the whale’s unique feeding behavior. Fin color varies from all black to white. The expiration blow is bushy and highly visible 2.5-3 m ( 2.5-9.8 ft). Body length to 19 m (62 feet), weight to 48,100 kg (53 tons).

humpback whales17819773296_37dcacd696_o

about to dive

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: All Oceans in open waters.
The wintering grounds of these are:
A (Southwest Atlantic): coast of Brazil
B (Southeast Atlantic): the coast of West Africa from the Gulf of Guinea down to South Africa
C (southwestern Indian Ocean): coasts of eastern South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar (southern, western and eastern coasts), Mayotte, the Comoros and other western Indian Ocean island groups;
D (southeastern Indian Ocean): northwestern Australia
E (southwest Pacific) northeastern Australia, New Caledonia, Tonga and Fiji.
F (central South Pacific): Cook Islands and French Polynesia
G (southeast Pacific): Ecuador, Galápagos, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica.www.iucnredlist.org/details/13006/0

early dive

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DIET: Feed only in summer, in polar waters on plankton, krill and small fishes. A group of Humpback whales will locate a large group of small fishes and then blow bubbles from their blowholes as they circle toward the surface. The ring of bubbles forms a “bubble-net” which the fishes and or krill perceive as solid. The fishes are compressed and the multiple whales then rise in unison to the surface inside the “bubble net” with their mouths open and their pleats expanded for a maxium catch of herring, caplin or sandlance. The water is expelled through their comb-like baleen (made of keratin) while their tongue sweeps the fishes down their throat. 

diving

DSC_0381_2 (1)

REPRODUCTION: Sales sing complex songs, with each group having its own dialect lasting hours, and can be heard for over 18 miles (30 km). Females nurse their calves for almost a year. Calves do not stop growing until they are ten years old. Annual tropical to cool water migration 2,300-3,600 km (1,400-2,200 miles)

net scars

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CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist 2008 Least Concern (LC)
History:
1996–Vulnerable
1994–Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990–Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988–Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986–Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
www.iucnredlist.org/details/13006/0

The Arabian Sea subpopulation and the Oceania subpopulation are classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (July, 2009) www.iucnredlist.org

REMARKS: Individual may be identified by the distinctive markings on their flukes, or tails.

References

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/17227254903/in/album-72157652727235908/

Ron’s WordPress  https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5808&action=edit&postpost=v2

Oxford Journals Integrative & Comparative Biology icb.oxfordjournals.org/content/51/1/203.full

IUCN Red List 2008 www.iucnredlist.org/details/13006/0

IUCN Red List (July, 2009) www.iucnredlist.org

Monterey bay aquarium  www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/marine-mammals/h…

National Geographic animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/humpback-w…

ARKive   www.arkive.org/humpback-whale/megaptera-novaeangliae/vide…

Shirihai, H & Jarrett (2006) Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World,  Princeton University Press.

Evans, P & Weinrich, M (2002) Whales Dolphins and Porpoises,  D K London New York Munich Melbourne and Delhi.

Reeves, R, R, et al (2002) Guide to Marine Mammals of the World
Chanticleer Press, Inc.

Buffington K, et al (1992) Whales,  Scholastic Professional Books

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