MAR 16, 2016 2:04 PM PDT

Scientists Find Population of Rare Whales Off Coast of Madagascar

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

New research around the Madagascar oceanic regions conducted in November of last year suggests that a rare species of whale known as Omura’s whales, may be mostly native to the area.
 

An Omura's whale and her calf in the ocean.


Dr. Salvatore Cerchio, a marine mammal biologist of the New England Aquarium who has been studying whales for over 30 years, and his colleagues reportedly discovered at least 80 of these whales in the region. This number more than doubles the record of Omura’s whales ever discovered in our oceans in the history of whale research.
 
Because of the amount of Omura’s whales in the region, Cerchio and his colleagues collected about 14 days of video and audio samples of the rare species to learn more about them. With over 80 individual whales around at the particular time, there were plenty of test subjects to choose from.

You can watch some of the wonderous video below:
 

 
During the expedition, the team even collected samples of what was believed to be the Omura’s whales’ primary prey – some plankton – as well as some stool samples located nearby. This information will help biologists understand what these animals like to eat.
 
Omura’s whales aren’t particularly known for large blows or for being large themselves and don’t show much of themselves at the surface of the ocean, so locating them and tracking them can be difficult. Underwater tracking equipment is the best resort to locating them.
 
On the New England Aquarium’s blog, Cerchio notes that he never really knows what to expect in Madagascar’s surrounding waters. One year, the whales may be present, and another year, they might not be. Regardless, this is a very important finding that will require additional attention in the future in order for scientists to learn more about the hard-to-come-by species.

Source: New England Acquarium via BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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