New Population of Rare Irrawaddy Dolphins Found in the Philippines
Irrawaddy dolphins found off the coast of the Island Palawan
by Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan / WWF
April 2013. - A new population of critically-endangered Irrawaddy dolphins has been found in the Philippines by Mavic Matillano of the WWF Palawan team. Spotted by chance off Palawan - along the coastline of the West Philippine Sea - this pod of rare marine mammals, locally called Lampasut, was observed displaying typical behaviour, foraging for prey around lift net fish traps sitting approximately one kilometre offshore.
Previous populations of these dolphins - gifted with features that offer the barest hint of a congenial smile - have been documented in Malampaya Sound, as well as off the island of Panay. The Quezon pod represents the fourth known group of Irrawaddy dolphins reported in the Philippines…
(photo: WWF-Philippines / Mavic Matillano)
Treehugger recently posted 10 Reasons Why Dolphins Are Undeniably Awesome. This is all nice and well but this does overlook some key aspects of dolphins that should be recognized. Good luck trying to sleep tonight when you start thinking about dolphins.
1. They gang rape females As Miriam wrote before XXfactor, “Dolphin sex can be violent …
“In the first stage the soft tissues of the carcass are removed by scavengers, such as sharks, lampreys, and dozens of other species of invertebrates and vertebrates, capable of removing up to 60 kg per day of soft tissues.”
Text is a slightly edited Google translation of the source.
Blue Whales Pirouette Before Engulfing Prey
by Tia Ghose
As if behemoth ballerinas, blue whales pirouette before lunging at their prey, a strategy that may help the giants ambush krill from below.
“This behavior probably improves the whales’ chances to engulf the most krill possible,” said study co-author Ari Friedlaender, a marine biologist at Duke University.
The new findings, detailed today (Nov. 27) in the journal Biology Letters, may shed light on how the enigmatic creatures hunt and devour their shrimplike prey. Because krill cluster in massive swarms, “they’re perfect food for something like a baleen whale that wants to engulf a big amount of something at one time,” Friedlaender told LiveScience.
But while the marine mammals’ diet is well-known, how they find their prey remains a mystery…
(read more: Live Science) (photo: Ari Friedlaender)
Whale only known from bones washes up on beach in New Zealand
by Jeremy Hance
In 2010, a whale mother and male calf were found dead on Opape Beach in New Zealand. Although clearly in the beaked whale family—the most mysterious marine mammal family—scientists thought the pair were relatively well-known Gray’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon grayi). That is until DNA findings told a shocking story: the mother and calf were actually spade-toothed beaked whales (Mesoplodon traversii), a species no one had ever seen before as anything more than a pile of bones.
“This species is the least known species of whale and one of the world’s rarest living mammals,” write scientists in a new paper in Current Biology on the discovery.
Scientists have known of the spade-toothed beaked whale for over 140 years, but only from a pair of skull fragments and a single mandible. No one was even sure if the species was extinct or not.(read more: MongaBay)(photos: T - Gray’s Beaked Whale, NOAA; B - beached Spade-toothed Beaked Whale, NZ Dept. of Conservation)
Risso’s dolphin (by toryjk)
Risso’s dolphins are characteristically covered in scratches - the more as they get older, so mature individuals appear white - from all the scars!
Today is an AMAZING day for conservation in the Philippines!
The Large Marine Vertebrates Project spotted a pod of Pygmy Killer whale (Feresa attenuata) in the Bohol Sea. They have not been seen in the Philippines for 20 years!!
The last sighting was reported by L. Dolar in June 1992 (Leatherwood et al. 1992).
Cetaceans in the Philippines are protected under the Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 185 (1992), and 185-1 (1997). Coincidence? Does it take 20 years of protection for these populations to recover?
Bottlenose dolphin pod (Tursiops sp.) on Flickr.
Witnessed this pod surfing in the waves from Point lookout, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland.
Ever wonder what the inside of a baleen whale’s mouth looks like? This is a Bryde’s whale from the Sea of Cortez.
Photo by Doug Perrine
Shared by Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines.
P.S. Mr. Bryde, for whom the whale is named, was from Norway so it’s pronounced “Brewde’s”. He was the Norwegian consul to South Africa and set up the first whaling station in Durban in 1908.
Australian photographer Jason Edwards, who took the images off Tonga, was stunned by the “brief but tender” copulation.
While humpback “heat runs” - in which 15m-long, 40-tonne males fight to win a female’s attention - have been well documented, and often wrongly described as mating, this is the first time the actual act of copulation has been photographed, the National Geographic Channel said.
“It was amazing. There were four or five males vying for her attention and while the larger ones were busy jostling each other, the smallest one swam away with the female,” Mr Edwards said yesterday.
“Their coupling lasted less than 30 seconds, which might explain why it’s never been captured on film before.”