We met a very unusual combination of marine mammals this morning. Shortly beforehand, one of our interested little guests asked me whether Pilot whales can also be found with dolphins. Yes they are! And then usually with Bottlenose dolphins. But today it was different. Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) had joined the Short-finned Pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). Of course, the nimble Spotted dolphins insisted on swimming extensively in the bow wave of the Ribeira Brava.
In the afternoon things went very quickly. The shy Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) didn’t want us at all. That’s okay, that’s their right. Then we went to the Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), which were in the same area as sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Twice we were able to watch the tail rise as the Sperm whales slid down into the blue. Next stop: Short-finned Pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and finally one more time, a school of Bottlenose dolphins.
And three things all the different marine mammals we saw today have in common! First: they all belong to the group of toothed whales. Second, all are conscious breathers. This is very cleverly arranged by nature. Ultimately, the animals need to make sure that their blowhole is not underwater when they breathe in. If they had a breathing reflex that they cannot control, that would not be guaranteed. Thirdly, our small and large guests were very happy about all the species we saw 🙂
by Fatima Kutzschbach
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic Spotted dolphins, Pilot whales
10:00 Atlantic Spotted dolphins, Pilot whales, Striped dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins
15:00 Striped dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Sperm whales, Pilot whales