Scientists managed to catch on video, for the first time ever, a very elusive and rare whale species. This is the so-called True’s beaked whales. A study on the matter also includes some rare photos and genetic information.
True’s beaked whales are a rare whale species. Currently, only seven sightings of these mammals have been reported. But one of them can be considered a treasure trove. Students part of an educational expedition managed to capture the mammals on video, for the first time ever.
This sighting took place on Pico Island, the Azores, in the North Atlantic. A research paper on the matter was released on March 07th. It was published in the PeerJ Journal. The study was titled as follows: “True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia”.
The students managed to capture a 46 seconds long video. Nonetheless, this offered a great help in mapping out the species record. Previously, research knew little about this mammal’s behavior.
True’s beaked whale is part of the Ziphiidae family. This includes other 21 species. The rare whale species was first described by Frederick W. True back in 1913. However, due to their very rare sightings, science was unable to establish some key facts.
For example, an approximate population number is as yet unavailable. Researchers are unsure of the species’ exact location areas. They also do not know how these whales calve.
As it is, True’s beaked whale is known to be a medium-sized species. This new footage helped establish some new facts about the mammals. The images showed that this rare whale species is characterized by more than one coloration. This video record presented a new color pattern.
It also helped researchers define the species’ geographical boundaries. At least in the Atlantic Ocean. Previously, the species was believed to only inhabit the more temperate North Atlantic waters.
True’s beaked whales were noted to be able to dive for long periods of time. The species seems to only resurface on rare occasion. During such events, they are believed to take in short breathings. Studies showed that True’s whales can dive down to significant depths. They were observed to dive as deep as 8,200 feet below the water surface.
Following the video sighting, scientists also started gathering rare photos of these mammals. These even include a photo of a whale calf, also a first time record. For their research, the team also gathered data collected from other sources.
For example, information acquired by studying other sightings or strandings. Data also included genetic analyses of some individual whales.
Based on such data, science is hoping to deepen its knowledge of its rare whale species. Researchers will be looking to improve long-term monitoring of this mammal. They will also be looking to better develop conservation practices for deepwater whales.
Image Source: Wikimedia