Saturday December 16, 2006
Named after a Norwegian diplomat
KUALA LUMPUR: The Brydes whale is a baleen whale and is unique in that it has three longitudinal ridges on its head.
According to International Fund for Animal Welfare, the mammal has folds or grooves on its throat and chest that allow the mouth to expand when filled with water.
The whale, usually dark grey or bluish grey, has a slender body and a broad flat head with a prominent dorsal fin.
The whale has twin blowholes with a low splashguard to the front. It has no teeth but has two rows of baleen plates.
The Brydes whale got its name from Norwegian consul to South Africa, Johan Bryde, who helped set up the first whaling factory in South Africa in the early 1900s.
Brydes whales feed on pelagic schooling fish, such as anchovy and herring.
They are distributed widely throughout tropical and subtropical waters, with a separate, smaller, pygmy species found in tropical Western Pacific and South-East Asia.
Brydes whales are believed to breed year round and their gestation period is estimated to be 12 months. Calves are about 4m long at birth and weigh 1,000kg.
Brydes whale is listed as Data Deficient by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It is also listed on Conservation on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I, which prohibits international trade.