Toothed whales

New research suggests dolphin infanticide in Japan

dolphin infanticide

Our friend Leanne Rosser from Japan just made a disturbing yet fascinating discovery: she observed a potential dolphin infanticide event (the killing of an infant) in the population of Pacific white-sided dolphins she studies in Mutsu Bay, Japan. In this post, she tells us about this event she witnessed, as well as the reasons behind …

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Scientists develop a model to reveal wild killer whales’ diets

A new study presented a method to reconstruct killer whales’ diets using the lipid composition of their blubber. By measuring these lipids, called fatty acids, in the killer whales’ fat and those in their potential prey, scientists can estimate the abundance of each prey species in the whales’ diet. This new method may hold the …

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Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins — April 2022

We’ve all heard about humpback whales. They are probably the most famous baleen whale species. But did you know humpback dolphins existed? There are actually four different species of humpback dolphins, all grouped in the genus Sousa. This month, we cover Sousa chinensis, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. This coastal dolphin needs our help; let’s find …

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Barataria Bay Bottlenose Dolphins — March 2022

This month we shine a light on a very specific population of bottlenose dolphins. We can encounter them right off the coast of Louisiana, in Barataria Bay. The Barataria Bay dolphins are not much different than other populations found off the Gulf of Mexico coastline. However, they face specific stresses that threaten the survival of …

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One big tooth: Let’s talk about the narwhal’s tusk

In the far far north, close to the sea ice, lives a mysterious creature often called the unicorn of the sea: the narwhal. This animal owes its name to its tusk. In old Norse, the term nafarr means “auger”, which is a type of drill that resembles the narwhal’s spiraled tusk. Narwhals are quite elusive …

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The beluga whale – February 2021

beluga

We are super happy to feature the beluga whale this February for our “Whale of the Month”. We are even more excited because this post is a collaboration with Whales Online (Baleines en Direct) and the GREMM (Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals) located in Tadoussac, Quebec. Beluga conservation is one of the …

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This species has the lowest teeth count of all dolphins

risso's dolphins teeth

Dolphins typically have between 100 and 200 identical teeth. Their teeth are typically shaped like cones to grab, grip, and secure prey before swallowing it whole. Dolphins may also use them to tear apart large chunks of flesh from their prey. Baby dolphins are born without teeth, and they gradually erupt from 2 to 5 …

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The harbor porpoise – December 2021

Happy holiday season! This month, we decided to highlight a shy little odontocete, the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). They are not known for grand displays in the water, but we wanted to do them justice this month because we believe they do not get enough love! These shy little guys face various human threats, so …

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Sizing them up! Scientists use sound to measure sperm whales

Studying large creatures, like whales can be difficult. Especially when they spend most of their time deep underwater. But scientists have become pretty creative in their approach to studying them, especially when it comes to quantitative attributes. In this post, we will discuss how scientists can measure the size of sperm whales by using their …

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Kogia: dwarf and pygmy sperm whales – November 2021

Whalecome to our new whales of the month: the dwarf and pygmy sperm whales. Like their cousin, the sperm whale, they like to spend most of their time deep underwater to hunt their favorite prey: squid and deep-sea fish, and crustaceans. Did you know they can release “ink” from their butts to confuse predators?! Find …

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