Could Killer Whales Replace Polar Bears As Top Predators At the North? That’s the question scientists are now pondering.
A Polar Bear Swimming Underwater
Are we seeing an era where Killer Whales (Orcas) replace the polar bears as top predators at the North Pole? Well, maybe not just yet but the prospect is becoming more and more realistic as global warming gradually becomes a big problem.
Global warming can be largely regarded as a man-made phenomenon at this point and no
The Dusky Dolphin is one of the most acrobatic of all cetacean species.
A Wild Dusky Dolphin Named “Nox” (Photo: AllenMcC/Wikimedia Commons, cc 3.0)
The Dusky Dolphin is an oceanic species dwelling in the coastal waters of the Southern Hemisphere. Its common name comes from its dark body coloration and it’s most closely related to the Pacific white-sided dolphin.
This is a small-to-medium sized dolphin with a dark gray or black back and a distinctively two-toned dorsal fin. Also, it has a long, lighter-gray patch on its fore side that leads all the way to a
Dolphins could be described as man’s best friend in the waters. But how do they act when we’re not looking?
One Of The Dusky Dolphins With Suction Camera Attached (Photo: University Of Sydney)
Dolphins typically like to hang out with humans, we all know that. They’re playful, friendly, and acrobatic when they spot friendly humans around them. But does their behavior change when we are not looking?
A team of scientists set out to find out that information.
Secret Life Of Dolphins: What Scientists Seek To Learn
Researchers fitted tiny cameras onto 8 wild dusky dolphins and were able to capture almost 10 hours of footage showing the marine mammals doing things humans had rarely witnessed before.
This research is the first of its kind and showed mothers of the species interacting with their calves, playing in kelp seaweed forests, and so on. Also, scientists witnessed some unusual displays of affection between pod members, specifically a habit of rubbing flippers.
The team was made up of researchers from the University of Sydney (the Charles Perkins Centre) and the University of Alaska Southeast.
Dr Gabriel Machovsky-Capuska from the University Of Sydney reports that they did not use invasive underwater housings or wildlife crews. And the dolphins were in no way affected by the cameras.
The project deployed cameras loaded with memory boards, high frequency transmitters, and satellite transmitters. Each one had a battery designed to last for about 6 hours.
However, attaching the cameras on to the dolphins was quite challenging. For one thing, unlike other species like Orcas or even common bottlenose dolphins, dusky dolphins are relatively small. Also, they are fast, so getting close enough to them in a bobbing boat was tough.
In addition, their small size meant that there’s limited surface on the animal’s body and just a small window of time to quickly deploy the tag as the dolphins swim past.
They were able to successfully attach the devices using suction cups, long poles, and Velcro pads. The project lasted between December 2015 and January 2016 and took place in the waters around New Zealand.
“For the first time, these cameras have given us the opportunity to see what dolphins do on their own terms,” – Dr. Gabriel Machovsky-Capuska, School of Veterinary Science and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.
You can read more about the results as published in the Marine Biology Journal or watch a brief video extract from the footage below.
Plans To Capture Other Marine Species
The exercise was so revealing that the group hopes to repeat the procedure with other marine creatures like sharks for instance.
But what does all this seek to achieve?
Rather than being an avenue to just satisfy our curiosity about what these creatures do when we are not looking, there are some conservation benefits too. For example, getting a better idea about the kind of challenges the creatures face in their natural
In areas with a lot of human activity (like shipping routes, tourism, etc.), this kind of footage could pinpoint the impact on the dolphins.
Help to better comprehend the health and balance of marine environments including the dolphins’ prey that humans also fish. This includes different species of fish and squid that humans consume in large quantities.
Ultimately, collecting this data will help us better understand how our own activities impact marine creatures and their ability to feed, grow, mate, and raise their young.
The Pygmy Killer Whale is actually a dolphin but unlike most dolphins, it keeps away from humans and it’s particularly aggressive in captivity.
Pygmy Killer Whale (Illustration: Marinebio.org)
Often confused with the melon-headed dolphin or the false killer whale, the Pygmy Killer Whale is a poorly-known oceanic dolphin.
This species is very rare indeed and gets its common name from some of the physical characteristics it shares with the Orca (killer whale). This is the smallest among the species that have”whale” attached to their common name.
Despite sharing many physical characteristics with killer whales, what distances them is their
Animal rights activists are continuously alarmed over Russia’s killer whale trade.
A Pod Of Killer Whales In Russian Waters (Photo: FEROP)
Although many countries worldwide are gradually ending dolphin capture and entertainment due to the obviously negative effects of captivity on these creatures, countries like China aren’t. And Russia is supplying the required “goods” in large numbers.
In fact, Chinese dolphinariums and aquariums are expanding and drawing large crowds with Russian dolphins and whales on display. The most common large marine mammals in question
The Atlantic Spotted Dolphin is a friendly and well-known species especially to people in the Bahamas.
An Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Photo: NOAA)
The Atlantic Spotted Dolphin is a cetacean species endemic in the Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic Ocean and other parts of the Atlantic. Adult individuals are easy to identify by the distinctive spotted coloring all over their bodies.
This a relatively smaller-sized dolphin when compared to other better-known dolphin species. The Atlantic spotted dolphin is a stoutly-built but compact creature and sports a moderately long, chunky beak. Typically, the beak is white-tipped and some individuals may have white ‘lips’.
The main body color is a dark cape, gray sides, and a whitish underbelly. Spots begin to appear
The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin is a well-known species that’s strikingly similar to the common bottlenose dolphin.
An Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin, Port River, Adelaide, Australia (Photo: Aude Steiner)
The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin is another species of bottlenose dolphins.
Though they appear somewhat similar to the common bottlenose dolphin at first glance, a closer examination shows some clear differences.
For instance, although its back is also dark gray, its belly is lighter a gray shade or nearly white with gray spots. In addition, the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin is typically smaller than the common bottlenose dolphin. The Indo-Pacific species also has more teeth than the common species.
Just like the common bottlenose dolphins, this species has a stout and muscular body, and tall,
The Pilot Whale is actually a dolphin and well-known for mass strandings.
A Long Finned Pilot Whale Spy Hopping In Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada (Photo: Barney Moss/Wikimedia Commons cc by 2.0)
Regardless of their name, Pilot Whales are are actually dolphins. There are actually two species of pilot whale in the genus Globicephala. These are the long-finned pilot whale and the short-finned pilot whale.
They both have the same black or dark gray body color and shape. Hence, it’s almost impossible to tell them apart out at sea. So analyzing their skull structure is the best way to identify each