Balaenoptera edeni (Anderson, 1879)
* Balaenoptera edeni in Mammal Species of the World.
* North American Mammals: Balaenoptera edeni 
Bryde's whales are baleen whales, one of the "great whales" or rorquals. They prefer tropical and temperate waters over the polar seas that other whales in their family frequent. They are largely coastal rather than pelagic. Bryde's whales are very similar in appearance to sei whales and almost as large.
"Bryde" is pronounced /ˈbruːdə/ BROO-də), and "Bryde's whale" is sometimes misheard as "brutus whale". The name comes from the Norwegian consul to South Africa, Johan Bryde, who helped set up the first whaling station in Durban, South Africa in 1908.
They inhabit tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.
Bryde's whales are considered medium-sized for balaenopterids, dark gray in color with a white underbelly.
The taxonomy is poorly characterized. Three genetically distinct, candidate species/subspecies/morphologies, Bryde's whale B. brydei, Bryde's/Eden's whale B. edeni, and Omura's whale B. omurai, differentiate by geographic distribution, inshore/offshore preferences, and size. For at least two of the species, the scientific name B. edeni is common. Omura's whale, a pygmy, is only recently described and reaches only 37.5–39 feet (11.4–12 m).
They were not described until 1878, from a stranded specimen on the coast of Burma, which was given the name Balaenoptera edeni. In 1913, whales off the coast of South Africa were described as Balaenoptera brydei, the name being given to honour Johan Bryde, Norwegian consul and pioneer of the South African whaling industry.
By the 1950s, scientists grouped them in a single species, B. edeni, retaining Bryde's whale as the common name.
They can reach lengths of 40–50 feet (12–15 m) and weigh up to 55,000 pounds (25,000 kg). Males are usually slightly smaller than females.
The head of Bryde's whales makes up about 25% of the body, with relatively large eyes. Each side of the mouth features 250-410 coarse gray baleen plates up to 40 centimetres (16 in) long. Forty to 70 ventral pleats are located on the animal's underside. Omura's whales have 180-210 baleen plates on each side and 80-90 ventral pleats. Bryde's whale is unique amongst rorquals in that it has three longitudinal ridges on its rostrum, from the tip of the snout back to the blowhole. Sei whales, with which they are often mistaken, like other rorquals, have a single median ridge. Omura's whales have no ridges.
These whales have an erect, curved, pointed, "falcate" dorsal fin located far down its back and broad flukes. The dorsal fin is visible at the surface. The broad, centrally notched tail flukes never break the surface. The flippers are small and slender.
Color varies: the back is generally dark grey or blue to black. The ventral area is a lighter cream, shading to greyish purple on the belly. Some have a number of whitish-grey spots, which may be scars from parasites or shark attacks. Omuras have asymmetrical head coloring, similar to fin whales.
Their blow is columnar or bushy, about 10–13 feet (3.0–4.0 m) high. Sometimes they blow or exhale while under water. Bryde's whales display seemingly erratic behavior compared to other baleens, because they surface at irregular intervals and can change directions for unknown reasons.
They usually appear individually or in pairs, and occasionally in loose aggregations of up to twenty animals around feeding areas.
They regularly dive for about 5–15 minutes (maximum of 20 minutes) after 4-7 blows. Bryde's whales are capable of reaching depths up to 1,000 feet (300 m). When submerging, these whales do not display their flukes. Bryde's whales commonly swim at 1–4 miles per hour (1.6–6.4 km/h), but can reach 12–15 miles per hour (19–24 km/h).
They sometimes generate short (0.4 seconds) powerful, low frequency vocalizations that resemble a human moan.
These whales opportunistically feed on plankton (e.g., krill and copepods), and crustaceans (e.g. pelagic red crabs, shrimp), as well as schooling fish (e.g., anchovy, herring, sardine, mackerel, and pilchard). Bryde's whales use several feeding methods, including skimming the surface, lunging, and bubble nets.
Reproduction and nurturing
Bryde's whales breed in alternate years, apparently in any season, with an autumnal peak. Their gestation period is estimated at 12 months. Calves are about 4 metres (13 ft) long at birth and weigh 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). They become sexually mature at 8–13 years of age. At birth, the single calf is about 11 feet (3.4 m). The mother nurses for 6–12 months.
Range and habitat
Bryde's whales prefer highly productive tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters of 61–72 °F (16–22 °C). Pygmies may prefer waters near the coast and continental shelf.
Bryde's whales inhabit the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans, from 40° South to 40° North. Some populations migrate seasonally, moving towards higher latitudes during the summer and towards the equator during the winter. Uniquely among baleen whales, some populations do not migrate. The distribution of Omura's whales includes the nearshore and continental shelf waters of southeast Asia, east India, and the western Pacific.
There may be up to 90,000-100,000 animals worldwide, with two-thirds inhabiting the Northern Hemisphere.
For management purposes, the U.S. population is divided into three groups: the Eastern Tropical Pacific stock (11,000-13,000 animals), Hawaiian stock (350-500), and Northern Gulf of Mexico stock (25-40). There are an estimated 12 animals in the coastal waters of California, Oregon, and Washington.
There are insufficient data to determine population trends.
Bryde's whale is listed as Data Deficient by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It is also listed in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I, which prohibits international trade. Omura's whale is not listed by the IUCN.
Bryde's whales have not been reported as taken or injured in fishing operations. Historically, this species was not significantly targeted by commercial whalers, but became more important in the 1970s as the industry depleted other targets. The Japanese hunt this species as part of their scientific whaling program. Artisanal whalers have taken them off the coasts of Indonesia and the Philippines. Bryde's whales are also sometimes killed or injured by ship strikes. Anthropogenic noise is an increasing concern for all rorquals, which communicate via low-frequency sounds.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 protects these whales.
* On 23 August 2007, a large whale with wounds in several body parts was found dead in waters off the town of Tagdon, Barcelona in Sorsogon province in the Philippines. The 14 metres (46 ft) long, 7 long tons (7.1 t) corpse was later identified as a Bryde's whale. This species frequents the coastal waters of the central Philippines, specifically the waters off Siquijor, Bohol, Palawan and Camiguin.
* On 13 October 2008, a 10 metres (33 ft) long, 3 long tons (3.0 t) live Bryde's whale beached itself in the estuary of the Nenasi River, Pekan, Malaysia. Despite villagers' attempts to save it, the whale died.
* On 4 October 2009, a 41.5 feet (12.6 m)-long Bryde's whale died in Tampa Bay (Tampa, Florida, USA), and had to be removed from a busy shipping channel. Rescuers pulled the whale from the water onto the shore of Fort De Soto Park, where a necropsy revealed fractured ribs and shredded muscle consistent with a boat strike. The whale was buried off shore by the park.
* On 16 January 2010, a 12 metres (39 ft) long Bryde's whale was found dead, washed up on a Puget Sound beach near Olympia, Washington. After a necropsy by local biologists, it was ceremonially processed by members of the Squaxin Island Tribe, who will reassemble it for display in their tribal museum.
On 8 April 2010, a Bryde's whale (as identified by the local environmental and oceanography organizations) was beached on El Mogote beach in front of the Paraiso del Mar resort on the Sea of Cortez, just outside La Paz, Mexico. After several hours of rescue attempts, the whale was freed and swam out to sea. It appeared healthy and there were no reports of the whale returning to shore. The whale was found beached early in the morning. It was successfully freed around 4 pm, after the tide came in, with the assistance of several boats, the Marines and many local volunteers from shore. Although a minor cut to the whale's skin near its fluke occurred when volunteers tried to free the whale using an inadequately sized rope, it was otherwise in excellent shape with no evidence of scars or other injuries. It looked to be a very heathy whale. Many pictures of this whale and the rescue attempts have been posted online.
A pod of 20 Bryde's whales were spotted in the upper Gulf of Thailand off the province of Phetchaburi in September 2010, causing a stir in the media and concern from conservation groups about an influx of watchers. 
* On 4 December 2010, a Bryde's whale washed up dead on a beach in the Totten Inlet of South Puget Sound near Olympia, Washington. The injured whale was first spotted in November, missing large chunks of flesh and blubber that may have been caused by a boat propeller. 
On the 26th of December 2010, a Bryde's whale washed up on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. The animal was alive and attempts were made to refloat it on the incoming tide. These attempts were unsuccessful however, and it died before it was able to be taken back out to sea.
* Baker A.N.; Madon B.(2007) Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera cf. brydei Olsen 1913) in the Hauraki Gulf and Northeastern New Zealand waters. Science for Conservation 272. p. 23. Department of Conservation, New Zealand. 
* National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World, Reeves, Stewart, Clapham and Powell, 2002, ISBN 0-375-41141-0
* Named after a Norwegian diplomat, The Star, December 16, 2006.
1. ^ Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N. (2008). Balaenoptera_brydei. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 26 February 2009.
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