Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hawai'i's other whales, the beaked variety

Most folks who think of whales and Hawai'i imagine that the seasonal humpbacks are the whole story.

But although the humpbacks are the most visible, with their dramatic flipper and tail flaps, and athletic leaps, they are hardly alone out there in the cetacean crowd.

(Image: An adult Cuvier's beaked whale. Credit: Robin Baird, Cascadia Research Collective.)

And while humpbacks are seasonal, other whales are full-time residents.

The beaked whales, for example, are smaller, but faithful residents, cruising the Islands' waters year-round.

Robin Baird's Cascadia Research Collective has been conducting research for a number of years on the beaked whales, notably Cuvier's and Blainville's beaked whales. The three whales they've seen the most are Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) and Longman's beaked whale (Indopacetus pacificus).

Twenty-one of the 86 recognized species of cetaceans are beaked whales.

For those interested in being able to recognize these whales, and to learn about their behavior, and their responses to Navy sonar deployment, Baird has established a website with photographs and links to many of the group's research papers.

For more information, including crittercam video, see another Cascadia page .

© Jan TenBruggencate 2009

1 comment:

Keahi Pelayo said...

Who new! I find your blog very educational, keep it up.