[MARMAM] Humpback whale in the south of Italy
simo.pani at inwind.it
Wed Mar 13 10:02:39 PDT 2013
I would like to report an unusual sighting of
humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the
waters of Lampedusa Island, south of Sicily.
This area is known to host visiting fin whales
every late winter - early spring, who surface
feed on the very abundant euphausiid, Nyctiphanes
couchii, as reported by Canese and colleagues a few years ago.
Yesterday, while looking for fin whales, we saw a
young humpback whale, approx. 8-9-meters long, 20
km south east of the Island. The whale appeared
to be swimming in a relaxed way and we recorded
several episodes of surface feeding. We followed
the whales for an hour and a half, while slowly
moving towards the west. After talking with the
personnel of the local Marine Protected Area
Isole Pelagie and the fishermen, no other records
of such species have been reported around the island.
Humpback whales have been reported 10 times since
2009 in the Mediterranean Sea, including this
sighting, 2 strandings and 8 sightings at sea
(Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, pers. comm.).
The animal has been photo-identified and we would
be happy to compare id pictures with those from
the other sightings in the Mediterranean Sea (or even beyond if appropriate).
This project - funded by the Italian Ministry of
the Environment - is a collaboration between the
International Whaling Commission and the Tethys
Research Institute, with the support of the
Società Cooperativa Sesto Continente, working for the MPA Isole Pelagie.
With my best regards from a very windy Lampedusa,
Tethys Research Institute
Viale G.B. Gadio 2, 20121 Milano, Italy
tel. +39 0272001947 / 0272013943
fax +39 0286995011
<mailto:tethys at tethys.org>tethys at tethys.org
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