This morning we observed two different species of marine mammals on the Ribeira Brava. First, we had a kindergarten group of Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) that we were able to accompany for a while. A calf swam excitedly in the bow wave for a moment. We turned towards the coast, because there was a school of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) close to shore, which of course we also wanted to see. A couple of times they also came in the bow wave of our boat.
Both types have similarities, but there are also differences. Pilot whales, like Bottlenose dolphins, have in common that they belong to the dolphin family and use a nursery system, with the females helping out with babysitting. But their gestation periods are very different. While Bottlenose dolphins are one year pregnant, the gestation period for Pilot whales is sixteen months. The social system in Bottlenose dolphins is a hierarchy, where Pilot whales are a matriarchy.
By Fatima Kutzschbach
Sightings of the day
10:00 Pilot wales, Bottlenose dolphins
10:00 Pilot wales, Bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins