Sunday, November 8, 2015

Omura’s Whale Captured On Film

Sea Mammals


Scientists recently captured some images of a rare underwater mammal swimming in the Indian Ocean near the island nation of Madagascar (off the coast of southeast Asia)—the elusive Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai), writes Richard Farrell of Discovery News (“Mysterious Omura's Whale Filmed for the First Time”; November 2, 2015):
Until now, the small—about 33 to 38 feet long—tropical marine mammal had been little seen in the wild, known only from sporadic strandings on shore and scant genetic data obtained in 2003 from earlier Japanese whaling expeditions.
Forty-four groups of Omura’s whale were documented over the course of two years by a team of researchers led by Salvatore Cerchio, a guest investigator with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a staff member at the New England Aquarium.
Cerchio is the lead author of a study on the team's findings that has been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
The whale, which has a long narrow body built for speed, has a distinctive colouring: darker on the left, lighter on the right. Among the answers Cerchio and his team are seeking is the number of such whales and their patterns of behaviour.  Their rarity could also make them endangered, although this has yet to be verified.

An article in Wikipedia gives some background information on this whale:
The scientific description of this whale was made in Nature in 2003 by three Japanese scientists. They determined the existence of the species by analysing the morphology and mitochondrial DNA of nine individuals – eight caught by Japanese research vessels in the late 1970s in the Indo-Pacific and an adult female collected in 1998 fromTsunoshima, an island in the Sea of Japan. Later abundant genetic evidence confirmed Omura's whale as a valid species and revealed it to be an early offshoot from the rorqual lineage, diverging much earlier than the Bryde's and sei whales. It is perhaps more closely related to its larger cousin, the blue whale.[3][4]
The whale is named after Japanese cetologist Hideo Omura.

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For more, go to [Discovery]

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