Friday, January 3, 2014

Not always together: mum and calf in a mass stranding

The short-finned pilot whale mass stranding in Sabu Raijua, Oct 2012 (pic by Sabu govt and TNC)

In a mass stranding, mother and calf are not always stranded together. Some calves could also be found without the mothers in the vicinity. Check this excellent paper by Oremus et al (2013): 

Oremus, M., Gales, R., Kettles, H. & Baker, C. S. 2013, 'Genetic Evidence of Multiple Matrilines and Spatial Disruption of Kinship Bonds in Mass Strandings of Long-finned Pilot Whales, Globicephala melas', Journal of Heredity, vol. 104, no. 3, pp. 301-311.

Full paper, click here


Mass strandings of whales and dolphins have puzzled biologists since Aristotle. Although environmental factors are often assumed to initiate strandings, social forces must also influence the dynamics of many of these events, particularly for the primary species involved in mass strandings, the long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas).