How Many Species of Whales?
Tuesday’s Wake Up with the Whales Cruise began with a lot of wind. We were seeing a lot of Humpbacks spouting too, but the wind made it difficult to travel to them. Also, as soon as we’d see these spouts, the whales would disappear — no flukes, or multiple blows from any of them. Fortunately, the wind died down during the cruise, and the whales became a bit more active. We spent some time with a Mom and her calf, watching baby through 3 dive cycles (at one point just about 60 yards from our idling boat) before Mom surfaced, spouted, and showed her flukes as she sounded. We also saw quite a few breaches and peduncle throws from whales everywhere from a couple of hundred yards away to the horizon line. The last pair of whales we watched surfaced first to our north…and then by the time they surfaced again, they were behind us by about 100 yards, but these Humpbacks spouted 5 times before diving.
Ocean Sports Whale Fact of the Day: We spend most of our time during the winter months watching Humpback whales, and the occasional pod of Spinner Dolphins (or more rarely, Bottle Nose Dolphins), but the world’s oceans are home to many, many more cetacean species. Just how many total whale species are there in the world? Interestingly, researchers don’t agree on the number because species’ classifications are still a bit controversial. Saying that, we’ll defer to the Society for Marine Mammalogy (the largest international association of marine mammal scientists in the world) for an answer — they list a total of 14 species of Baleen Whales (suborder ”Mysticete”), and 72 species of Toothed Whales (suborder “Odontocete).