Scientific Name: Balaenoptera edeni
Other Names: Tropical Whale
In terms of outward appearance, Bryde’s Whales are very similar to Sei Whales, often causing confusion. They also resemble Fin and Minke whales to some extent. What makes the Bryde’s Whale unique is the three longitudinal ridges that run parallel to one another on the top of its head (in front of the eye). There appear to be two distinct types of Bryde’s Whale. One lives offshore and tends to migrate to a certain extent, while the other is found inshore and prefers to stay put all year round.
Although not confirmed, it has been reported that a dwarf version of the Bryde’s Whale has been spotted near the Solomon Islands.
Drawing of a Brydes Whale.
Bryde’s Whales have a grey upper body with a lighter blue, grey-blue or purple-grey underside. The dorsal (or upper) area may look brown or even golden in some lights. It often has scarring on its belly, caused by parasites or Cookie-cutter sharks.
Although the dorsal fin is small, it is prominent for having a deep concaved trailing edge. The tail fin is broad and slightly concave with a distinctive notch. The pectoral fins are quite short, measuring about one-tenth of the length of the body, and are slender.
The Bryde’s Whale adult reaches, on average, between 11.5 and 14.5 metres, which is equivalent to about 38 to 47.5 feet. Adults weigh between 12 and 20 tonnes.
Bryde’s Whales have been known, on the rare occasion, to be inquisitive enough to approach boats and circle them or swim alongside them. When these whales breach, there entire bodies can be lifted out of the water, providing a spectacular display of their strength, agility and sheer beauty.
The Bryde’s Whale often dives for up to eight minutes (although it is technically capable of longer periods), but usually stays beneath the water’s surface for an average of two minutes.
These creatures are happy to live on their own or with one other whale. However, pods of up to seven individuals are not unusual.
Where to Find Them
The Bryde’s Whale is found in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters across the central strip of the globe’s oceans. They prefer warm water currents and are, therefore, found mainly off the coasts of Japan, South Africa, Fiji, Western Australia and Sri Lanka.
As baleen whales, this species feeds on tiny fish and krill, or plankton. It does not hunt larger species as it does not have teeth with which to seize and grip them, but uses massive sieve-like structures in its mouth to capture its food.
Fishing is a potential threat to the Bryde’s Whale, since nets and other fishing equipment can cause major damage and even drowning. That having been said, there remains no report of this actually happening as yet. Whalers have hunted Bryde’s Whales, but not excessively. Still, it is the human influence that presents the largest threat to their lives.
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