bryde's whale

Bryde’s Whale

Balaenoptera edeni brydei
Distribution map of Bryde's whales or tropical whales.

The Bryde’s whales or tropical rorquals that we see in Huatulco are known as a coastal subspecies. There is a Bryde’s whale complex that includes four subspecies. Within the complex there are; coastal and oceanic varieties of Bryde’s, Eden, Indo-Pacific and a coastal subspecies from South Africa. Rice’s and Omura’s whales were previously considered members of the Bryde’s whale complex, but are now recognized as separate species.

Bryde's whales

Bryde’s Whales

The coastal Bryde’s whales or tropical whales are not the largest in the complex, but they reach 14 meters and weigh more than 15,000 kilograms. They are baleen whales and members of the rorqual group. They have a long, slender body that is dark above and light below. They are distinguished by the three ridges along the rostrum. They live up to 70 years, becoming adults between 8 and 13 years.
Like all fin whale species, Bryde’s whales are filter-feeding whales with 250-370 baleen and 40-70 ventral folds that help feed on small fish and crustaceans. A diferencia de la mayoría de las especies de ballenas barbadas, no se sabe que estas ballenas migren largas distancias. They prefer warmer waters and have a small range. This may be the way that geographic populations (such as Rice’s whale) have become genetically distinct.
During the tours we collect information to improve the knowledge and conservation of these tropical whales. In addition to the number of whales, the location, activity and photo identification of individuals, we are also collecting information on signs of fishing interactions and tourist activity around the whales. Our goal is to learn more about the Bryde’s whale population and its range in the eastern tropical Pacific.

The conservation of Bryde's whales is part of our mission at Oceanico Huatulco.
Conservation of Bryde's whales.

Bryde’s Whale Conservation

The conservation of Bryde’s whales is a challenge for global efforts, mainly due to a lack of information. Therefore, they are considered “data deficient” by the IUCN. Bryde’s whales found off the coast of Huatulco have not been studied to any degree. As individual whales can be identified from photos of their dorsal fins, we have started a catalog to learn about the local population and range of the Bryde’s whales we encountered.
The conservation of Bryde’s whales is threatened by ship collisions, environmental degradation, and noise pollution.