The Bryde’s whale (pronounced “broo-dess”), is named after Johan Bryde who helped build the first whaling factory in Durban, South Africa in 1909. Sometimes known, appropriately, as the “tropical whale”, this is the only baleen whale species that lives all year-round in warmer waters near the equator.
The Bryde’s whale has three parallel ridges on the top of its head. It has between 40 and 70 throat pleats which allow its mouth to expand when feeding. As with some of the other baleen whales, the Bryde’s whale primarily eats schooling fish and sometimes krill and other planktonic crustaceans.
Sometimes inquisitive, the Bryde’s whale can be seen approaching or swimming alongside boats. It has irregular breathing patterns, and will often blow four to seven thin, hazy spouts, followed by a dive, usually about two minutes long, although it is capable of staying below the surface for longer.
There are both offshore and coastal-dwelling groups, and a dwarf type of Bryde’s whale has recently been recognised around the Solomon Islands. Japanese whalers started hunting Bryde’s whales again in 2000 when 43 were killed in the Northwest Pacific for so-called “scientific research”. Bryde’s whales are also threatened by noise and chemical pollution.
Contrary to what its name implies, the false killer whale is not directly related to the killer whale. However, as with the killer whale, it is also not a whale but a large member of the dolphin family.
The false killer whale has a long, slender, uniformly black or dark grey body. Some individuals have a slightly paler head and sides, and sometimes a pale ‘W’ shape on the chest.
The false killer whale is the only member of the blackfish group that bow-rides regularly, though other species are known to do so in certain areas. It is a fast moving energetic animal, not shy of boats. It is active and playful, often surfacing with its mouth open revealing its teeth. They are highly social and form strong bonds and are known to breach, lobtail, and porpoise while swimming energetically in pods of 10-60 individuals.
Found in tropical to warm temperate waters of the three oceans, the diet of this species consists primarily of fish and cephalopods.
The populations seem to be sparse and it is usually found only in deeper seas, which may help to explain why it has been little studied. This lack of information is reflected in its current designation by the IUCN as Data Deficient.