Subject: spanish whale identification revisited

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 1:27:16 GMT+1200

Dear Telfyn, 

To further our discussion regarding the large whale your friend saw off 
the coast of Spain, from your comments it would indeed appear it was 
a fin whale based on the serrated appearance of the trailing edges of the tail.
Sei whales usually have straight trailing edges.  You mentioned that 
long-finned pilot whales are often seen in this area, but this species is of 
course a much smaller sized whale. Adults grow to only 19 feet vs the 39
feet plus of the sei and fin whales.  Pilot whales are almost always found
in groups (pods), often comprised of hundreds of animals.  They may bow
ride and can often be seen spyhopping and lobtailing. They are commonly 
jet black in colour, although may look brownish in certain lights.

I'm glad that you managed to locate a spanish whale watching site.

All the best

Ms. Merel Dalebout
Ecology & Evolution Research Group
Thomas Building, Level 1
School of Biological Sciences
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92-019
Wellesley Street
Auckland, N.Z.
Ph:09-373-7599 ext. 4588
Fax: 09-373-7417