Bryde's Whale

Bryde's whale or Bryde's whale complex putatively comprises two species of rorqual and maybe three. The "complex" means the number and classification remains unclear because of a lack of definitive information and research. The common Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei, Olsen, 1913), a larger form that occurs worldwide in warm temperate and tropical waters, and the sittang or Eden's whale (B. edeni, Anderson, 1878), a smaller form that may be restricted to the Indo-Pacific. There is also a smaller, coastal form of B. brydei off southern Africa, and perhaps another form in the Indo-Pacific which differs in skull morphology, tentatively referred to as the Indo-Pacific Bryde's whale. The recently described Omura's whale (B. omurai, Wada et al. 2003), was formerly considered a "pygmy" form of Bryde's, but is now recognized as a distinct species.

Bryde's Whale
  • Size

    Members of the Bryde's whale complex are moderately-sized rorquals. At sexual maturity, males average 11.9 m (39 ft) and females 12 m (39 ft) near Japan. At birth, they are 3.95–4.15 m (13.0–13.6 ft). The body mass of Bryde's whales can range 12–25 metric tons (13–28 short tons).

  • Feeding

    Bryde's whale feed on a wide variety of fish, planktonic crustaceans, and cephalopods.

    Bryde's whales use several feeding methods, including skimming the surface, lunging, and bubble nets.

  • Life History

    Bryde's whales breed in alternate years, apparently in any season, with an autumnal peak. Their gestation period is estimated at 12 months. Calves are about 11–13 feet (3.4–4.0 m) long at birth and weigh 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). They become sexually mature at 8–13 years of age, when females are 39 feet (12 m). The mother nurses for 6–12 months.

  • Behavior

    They usually appear individually or in pairs, and occasionally in loose aggregations of up to twenty animals around feeding areas. They are more active on water surface than Sei whales.

    Their blow is columnar or bushy, about 10–13 feet (3.0–4.0 m) high. Sometimes they blow or exhale while under water.