Category: whale

What Do Whales Do All Day? New Tech Lets Resea…

What Do Whales Do All Day? New Tech Lets Researchers Tag Along:


By attaching video cameras and electronic tags to whales, scientists are answering longstanding questions about how marine mammals travel, feed, and live in the world’s oceans. Find out what they’ve learned!

whaletalesorg: We are very excited to be head…


We are very excited to be heading to the Pacific Rim Whale Festival March 23-25th! Will you be there??⠀
#whaletales #whalefest #pacificrim #tofino #exploreBC #parks #whales #whalelove #greywhales #festival #storytelling

thelovelyseas: Humpback whale bubbles by Sco…


Humpback whale bubbles by Scott Portelli




Humpback whales in Nuuk, Greenland

cetuselena: Humpback Fluke & Killer Dorsa…


Humpback Fluke & Killer Dorsal

ooh-love: Ingenious Bubble Net Fishing – Natu…


Ingenious Bubble Net Fishing – Nature’s Great Events – BBC

wild-diary: Humpbacks || Ray Morris


Humpbacks || Ray Morris

namu-the-orca: Sei whale (Balaenoptera boreali…


Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)

This one I actually like, a lot. The greyhound of the ocean (oops not really that’s actually the fin whale) – better known as the sei whale. They get this nickname from their speed: thanks to their immensely strong tails and slim bodies, seis are amongst the fastest of all cetaceans, capable of reaching 50 km/h in short bursts. The name ‘sei’ itself comes from the Norwegian word for Pollock (‘Seje’), a fish whose arrival in Norwegian waters roughly coincides with that of the sei whales.

Compared to other rorquals, sei whales are quite different in terms of their movements and distribution. All around the world they are known for their unpredictable nature, sometimes showing up in an area in great numbers, only to disappear and not be seen again for years of even decades. They also have the broadest range of prey of all balaenopterids, feeding on krill, fish and copepods, and are the only whale species to practice both ‘lunge feeding’ (characteristic of the rorquals) and ‘skimming’ (normally only found in right whales).

They have an exceptional colouration pattern that is all too rarely captured on photo, and often forgotten in illustrations. Which is unfortunate, because it is truly beautiful: besides the obvious countershading, the sei whale carries several backsweeping light strokes on the shoulder, which sharply turn forward to form a very light pair of chevrons that meet on the back. A little bit behind these chevrons the light flanks edge up onto the dark back with a few finger-like protrusions, after which the edge between light and dark more or less evens out. There are also a variable set of ‘shadows’ behind the flipper, which may take the form of a single dark band or several thinner lines, as shown here. The multiple white circles and ‘dents’ in the body are scars from cookiecutter sharks and/or lampreys.

Just goes to show that the great whales are in fact no less intricate in their markings than the smaller cetaceans 🙂

namu-the-orca: Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omu…


Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai)

Here’s another funny one; my Omura’s whale illustration from before I actually had photographs of Omura’s whales. He’s kinda pudgy and too dark, but the markings are surprisingly not too far off. But let’s go back in time to 2015 and my original description:

There is a problem with trying to illustrate Mysticetes in as much detail as possible, and that problem’s name is the Omura’s whale. Only scientifically described in 2003, so little is known about this whale that this info piece is going to be very short indeed (and mostly about how little we know). Because while various metric data is know, including length and weight measurements, and cranial morphology, barely a thing is known about their ecology. Also their looks are somewhat mysterious: in the official report they are noted as being very similar to the much larger Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in colouration, and have indeed been called the ‘Little fin whale’.

Since then, thanks to the great effort of Salvatore Cerchio’s team in Madagascar, a lot more has been discovered. About their habits, their ecology, and their pjhysical appearance. Much of this info can be found on the official website of the research project:

namu-the-orca: Antarctic minke whale (Balaenop…


Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)

Not recognised as a separate species until the late 1900s, the Antarctic minke bears quite a different look than its northern relative. Although often described as diagnostically having plain grey flippers (setting it apart from the Common minke, that has white flipper bands), there are also Antarctic minkes that have largely light grey or even white flippers, and it’s such an individual that I chose to depict. The round white scars are from Cookiecutter sharks, a species these whales encounter when migrating to warmer waters during the austral winter. Because unlike their name might suggest they are not necessarily Antarctica-bound, occurring throughout much of the Southern Hemisphere and even being resident in certain parts of Brazil.

There’s also something to be said about the noises they make! In the 1960’s, a sort of quacking noise, strangely similar to that of a regular duck, was picked up by submarines. Dubbed the ‘bio-duck’, it had people baffled for FIFTY years, until finally it was discovered in 2014 that these quacks in fact came from Antarctic minke whales. One more mystery solved 😀 You can listen to their quacks over here.

They are currently the most abundant of all baleen whales, their numbers in the hundreds of thousands – however it is not for a lack of hunting. With the greater whales depleted and hard to find, commercial whalers turned their attention to the Antarctic minkes, killing almost 10.000 of them between 1950 and 1987. Even after the whaling ban in 1986 Japan continued to take several hundred Antarctic minkes each year for their ‘scientific research’.

This illustration is part of a commission from SEAMMO (SEA Mammal Monitoring Organisation) to illustrate all 15 baleen whale (Mysticete) species.