For the first time, scientists have conducted a field study of an obscure species called Omura's whale.They have documented observations about the elusive mammal including feeding, vocalizations, and habitats in a recently published paper.
During the two years of research, the team determined that the animal's low profile is likely due to its smaller size, about 33 to 38 feet long, and more subtle blow. In fact, the animals were previously often confused with another species called Bryde's whale but were confirmed in 2003 as a distinct group based on genetic testing.
Omura's whales also have distinctive white and dark markings on the right and left sides of the lower jaw, respectively. Researchers first spotted one of the whales while conducting research in the waters off Madagascar in 2011 and saw more of them in an adjacent location in 2013. Of the studied population, four pairs were mothers with their calves which resulted in recordings that possibly link specific sounds with reproductive habits. Thus far, 25 members have been identified based on photographs.
Additional field study is expected to resume in November.
To see adorable images of other whales, scroll through the gallery below:
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