Subject: Mediterranean whales?

Dagmar Fertl (
Mon, 27 Sep 1999 05:41:50 PDT

We just came back from Nice, France.  We were surprised to see flyers
for whale-watching boat trips along that coast.  Knew there were
dolphins, but didn't know about the whales--we were pretty skeptical!.

Can you tell me about whales in the Med, or refer me to a website that
covers distribution?  Animal Diversity Web didn't do the job for me.

Barbara Ward

I would recommend going to the WhaleNet website and running a search using 
"Mediterranean" and "whale". I was able to locate a few pieces of mail that 
showed up on the A.S.K. section regarding fin whales in the Mediterranean 
(fin whales are baleen whales). I also know that there are sperm whales in 
the Mediterranean.  An excellent field guide to try to locate for 
distribution information is one by Thomas Jefferson et al - Marine Mammals 
of the World - which is published by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization 
of the United Nations). The field guide is not only available in paperback, 
but also as a CD-ROM.

When running a search across the full web using the above search terms, you 
will find "African marine mammals". When I put that together with a 
colleague, it included information on the Mediterranean, with northern 
Africa bordering on that.

There are some excellent researchers working in the Mediterranean studying a 
wide variety of cetaceans there. Fin, sei, minke, and humpback whales are 
the baleen whales you might see while whalewatching (depending on the time 
of year, etc.). Some toothed whale species, besides sperm whales that you 
might see include the Cuvier's beaked whale, Blainville's beaked whale, 
pilot whales, killer whales, false killer whales, pygmy killer whales, etc. 
So, as you see, whalewatching in the Mediterranean could be fruitful.

Thanks for your interest!

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