• MTC

Bryde's Whale



Image: Jamie Edwards

Length:

Male: 15 metres

Female: 16.5 metres

Calf Length: 4 metres

Diet:

Krill, schooling fish (anchovies, sardines, maasbankers), squid, and planktonic crustaceans.

Features:

Three longitudinal ridges on the rostrum and 40 - 70 throat grooves


Image: Jamie Edwards

Behaviour:

Usually feeds alone (mothers and calves often together), sometimes inquisitive. Has irregular breathing patterns (blow 4 - 7 thin, hazy sprouts) followed by a dive of around 2 minutes. Rarely shows more than the top of its head when surfacing between dives.

Life History:

Sexually mature at 8 - 13 years and may mate year round. The peak of the breeding and calving season may occur in autumn. Females breed every second year, with a usual gestation period of 11 - 12 months. Females give birth to a single calf that is about 3- 4 metres in length that is nursed for about 6 - 12 months.


Image: Jamie Edwards

Distribution:

Bryde's (pronounced "broodus") whales are members of the baleen whale family and are considered one of the "great whales" or rorquals. Named after John Bryde who helped build the first whaling factory in Durban, South Africa in 1909.

This is the only baleen whale species that lives all year round in warmer waters near the equator. There may be several additional species and/or subspecies.

The throat grooves allow its mouth to expand when feeding. The bryde's whale has a slender body which is smoky blue-grey in colour with a sickle-shaped dorsal fin. The body is often mottled with some scars caused by parasites and /or cookie-cutter sharks. The flippers are slender and pointed.

They commonly swim at 2 - 7 km/h but are capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 - 25 km/h. They sometimes generate short powerful vocalizations that have low frequencies and sound like "moans."


Author: Monica Lozano Subiranas

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Marine Training & Consulting, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
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