England – New species of whales spotted off the coast of Madagascar, found by New England Aquarium Scientist.
Last fall, Dr Salvatore Cerchio of the New England Aquarium, developed a team to study these rare types of whales, called Omura’s whales. Balaenoptera omurai is the scientific name given to this species, called “dwarf fin whale” because of its rare form.
Omura’s whales are, also, given this name after cetologist Hideo Omura.At first researchers and scientist who studied Omura’s whales, thought they belonged to another species, because of their rare forms. It was in 2003 when scientist discovered it was, in fact, a whale species.
“Once we realized they were Omura’s whales, it was mind boggling because no one had studied these animals,” Said Cerchio in an interview given to Fox News.
Dr Salvatore Cerchio and his researchers made a record number of 80 sightings of the Omura’s whales off the coast of Madagascar. Before this discovering, there had only been 44 individual sightings in total since the species was discovered. Last fall’s sightings are the most contact researchers have ever had with this whales. The Lineage of the whale goes 10 to 17 million years back.
Omura’s whales are quite similar to Bryde’s whales, this caused confusion between scientist. It was thanks to their asymmetrical head pigmentation and centered head ridges, that scientist discovered that they, actually, were Omura’s.
These whales are unusual because, it spends its entire life in a tropical environment, where there is little, for whales, to eat. Dr. Salvatore and his team discovered they are feeding on tiny shrimps called euphausiids.
These species are baleen whales, in other words, they filter food through a built-in sieve structure called baleen inside their mouths. Omura’s are about 33 feet long and belong to the same group, rorquals, as the massive Blue Whales that are 100 feet long.
Dr Salvatore’s team are interested in the whale’s songs. In the last research, the team captured two weeks of whale songs. They hope to return in April and collect six months of recordings from recorders they left back in October. According to Cerchio, is amazing that the same species of whales are feeding, breeding and singing all in the same habitat.
The team published a paper on Omura’s whales and is looking for funding to return to research this year. The last expedition was founded by the US Marine Mammal Commission.
Source: CS Monitor