Bryde’s Whale | UPSC
Thai researchers unearth rare Bryde’s whale skeleton
WHY IN NEWS:
A part of the vertebrae coming out of the ground, were spotted by a cyclist in early November
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : IUCN : Conservation of Flora and Fauna
- Bryde’s (pronounced “broodus”) whales are members of the baleen whale family.
- Bryde’s whales are named for Johan Bryde, a Norwegian who built the first whaling stations in South Africa in the early 20th century.
SOURCES: NOAA | Bryde’s Whale | UPSC
- Bryde’s whales are found in warm, temperate oceans including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.
- Some populations of Bryde’s whales migrate with the seasons, while others do not migrate, making them unique among other migrating baleen whales.
- There is not enough information to estimate population trends for the Bryde’s whale species as a whole.
- Bryde’s whales were once considered monotypic (belonging to one species).
Currently, there are two subspecies of Bryde’s.
- Bryde’s/Eden’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni edeni) is a smaller form found in the Indian and western Pacific oceans, primarily in coastal waters.
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- The Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni brydei) is a larger form, found primarily in pelagic waters.
- The Bryde’s whale’s “pygmy form” has only recently been described and is now known as Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai).
- Currently it is protected under schedule – CITES Appendix II.
- Since its population is too low ; there is less information on IUCN status.
- Bryde’s whales look similar to sei whales, but are smaller and prefer warmer waters.
- Unlike other rorquals, which have a single ridge on their rostrum, Bryde’s whales have three prominent ridges in front of their blowhole.
- The head of a Bryde’s whale makes up about one quarter of its entire body length.
- The whales have a broad tail, and a pointed and strongly hooked dorsal fin located about two-thirds back on the body.
- Bryde’s whales have 40 to 70 throat grooves on their underside that expand while feeding.
BEHAVIOR AND DIET
- Bryde’s whales spend most of the day within 50 feet of the water’s surface.
- They commonly swim at one to four miles per hour, but can reach speeds of 12 to 15 miles per hour.
- Bryde’s whales eat an estimated 1,320 to 1,450 pounds of food per day.
- Bryde’s whales use different methods to feed in the water column, including skimming the surface, lunging, and creating bubble nets.
- Bryde’s whales can blow water 10 to 13 feet into the air when at the water’s surface.
- Bryde’s whales can change directions unexpectedly when swimming.
- They sometimes generate short, powerful sounds that have low frequencies and sound like “moans.”
- Bryde’s whales have a wide distribution and occur in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters (61° to 72°F) around the world.
- They live in all oceans from 40° south to 40° north.
- Other populations of Bryde’s whales are residents, meaning that they do not migrate.
LIFESPAN & REPRODUCTION
- Bryde’s whales become sexually mature at around nine years of age.
- The peak of the breeding and calving season occurs in autumn, and females give birth to a single calf every two to three years.
- Pregnancy lasts 10 to 12 months, and calves nurse for about 12 months.
- VESSEL STRIKES : Accidental vessel strikes can injure or kill Bryde’s whales.
- OCEAN NOISE : Low-frequency underwater noise pollution can interrupt Bryde’s whales’ normal behavior by hindering their ability to use sound.
- WHALING ACTIVITIES : Whalers have recently hunted Bryde’s whales off the coasts of Indonesia and the Philippines.
- Scientists hope the skeleton will provide more information to aid research into Bryde’s whale populations existing today as well as the geological conditions at the time.
SOURCES: THE HINDU | Bryde’s Whale | UPSC