Subject: Fin whale stranding in the Aegean Sea (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sun, 4 Jan 1998 12:30:22 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 07:55:51 -0800
From: MARMAM Editors <marmamed@UVic.CA>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: Fin whale stranding in the Aegean Sea (fwd)

From: "A. Frantzis" <>

Dear all,

On the 25th of last December (1997) a young fin whale stranded dead close
to Kav ala port, in the North Aegean Sea (Mediterranean Sea, 40* 51' 30" N
- 24* 19' 00" E). It was a female individual with a total length of 13.5
meters. This length probably corresponds to approximatelly one year old
fin whales. During the last two months, many fishermen declared to have
seen two big whales close to the coasts of Kavala. Although these
observations cannot be confirmed (no photographs had been taken and sperm
whales are not so rare in the area) some of the fishermen insist that the
second whale is still in the area of the stranding.

This is the first documentated record of fin whale in the whole Aegean
Sea. Alth ough during the warm months of the year the species is commonly
found in the East Ionian Sea and sightings have been recorded all along
the greek continental slope, in South Peloponnissos , South Crete and
Karpathos Island sea areas (e.g. at the limits of the Aegean arc where
depth increases very steeply), it seems that the species rarely enters the
waters of the Aegean plate au.

After the stranding, Dr. Komnenou (Veterinary School of the Aristotle
University of Thessaloniki)  performed a complete necropsy of the stranded
fin whale. However, it has not bee n possible to clearly determine the
cause of its death. The stomach of the animal was empty an d samples from
a whitish liquid (that could be milk) have been taken. Hundrends of
ectoparasite s (Penella sp.?)  were present on the body of the stranded
whale. Skin and other tissues samples h ave been taken for further
analysis and genetical comparisons.


Dr. Alexandros Frantzis
Zoological Laboratory
Dept. of Biology
University of Athens
GR-157 84 ATHENS
e-mail :
tel : ++301 / 7284634
fax : ++301 / 7284604

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