Whales in the Canaries.

With around 30 species of cetaceans, the Canary Islands has the highest cetacean biodiversity in Macaronesia. Due to their situation, both the tropical affinity species and the coldest latitudes come together in the archipelago. In addition, it has resident populations of at least 5 species.

Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) • Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalis) • Northern minke (Balaenoptera borealis) • Tropical Warbler (Balaenoptera edeni) • White mink whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) • Yubarta (Megaptera novaeangliae)

The Blue Whale:

In the Canaries it is a very rare species to observe, being recorded of its presence by a few isolated sightings.

SOME DATA :

Average size of males: 25m (max 31)

Average size females: 26m (max 34)

Weight: 80-130 Tn (max 178 Tn)

Feeding: Planktonic crustaceans Distribution: global

The Fin Whale:

It is a rare species, although the Canaries can be an area of ​​feeding and breeding for this species. Adult specimens have been stranded (in good condition) in different parts of the archipelago. Concentrations of several specimens have been observed feeding on Lanzarote.

SOME DATA:

Average size of males: 21m (max 25)

Average size females: 22m (max 26.8)

Weight: 40-50 Tn (max 178 Tn)

Feeding: Plankton and fish Distribution: global (typical cold areas)

The Sei Whale:

In the Canaries, the northern whales appear to be sparsely abundant, with occasional stinging and sightings in the winter months.

SOME DATA:

Size: Up to 16m

Weight: 30 Tn

Feeding: Small fish

Distribution: global Unpredictable migratory movements.

The Bryde's whale:

In the Canary Islands the tropical whale is the most frequent species among the whales. They can be seen feeding in the spring and summer months, when the small pelagic fish are very abundant. There are no published data, but it is known that at least a part of the individuals who visit us year after year, are the same. The presence of mothers with babies is usual.

SOME DATA :

Average males size: 12.9m (max 14.3)

Average size females: 13m (max 14.6)

Weight: 12 Tn

Feeding: Fundamentally fish

Distribution: Tropical (circumglobal)

The Minke Whale:

In the Canary Islands is a very rare species, there being evidence of stranding in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

SOME DATA:

Average size: 7-9.8m (females 0.5 more)

Weight: 5-10 Tn

Food: Fundamentally fish

Distribution: Temperate-cold zones

Typical associations: normally Solitary

The Humpbackwhale:

Occasional. It seems that the Canary Islands is a place of passage between its breeding area in the Cape Verde Islands (February-March) and the northern European feeding areas (July-August).

SOME DATA:

Average male size: 14m (max 17.5)

Average female size: 15m (max 19)

Weight: approx. 36 Tn

Feeding: Plankton and fish

Distribution: global (Tropical breeding area)

Typical associations: family groups 2-3 indv.

The North Atlantic Right Whale:

Very rare. In the Canary Islands, a solitary specimen is observed for the first time in 1995, a short distance from the southwest coast of Tenerife. Later, two more sightings have been recorded.

SOME DATA:

Average size: 15m (females up to 18)

Weight: 80-100 Tn

Feeding: Plankton and fish

Distribution: Cold waters

Typical associations: Solitary.

Sperm Whale:

Resident. In the Canaries it seems that the groups are nomadic, moving depending on the availability of trophic resources. It is the species of cetacean that more rod as a result of the collision with boats

SOME DATA:

Average males size: 15m (max 20)

Average size females: 11m (max 17)

Weight: 40-50 Tn (max 178 Tn)

Feeding: Fundamentally, deep squid

Distribution: global

Social structure: matrilineal (females with their offspring), single groups and adult male solitary

Pigmy Sperm Whale:

Animal very difficult to spot and identify. The regularity of appearance of stranded specimens seems to indicate some abundance.

The other species: the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus) , is found in the Canaries for some sporadic strandings in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.

SOME DATA:

Average size:> 4 m

Weight: less than 300 Kg

Feeding: Cephalopods and mesopelagic fish

Distribution: Tropical

Social structure: Unknown

Calf Horn Whale:

Very rare. In the Canary Islands there is a stranding in Fuerteventura and a sighting in Gran Canaria

SOME DATA:

Average size of males: 9 m (max 10)

Average size of females: 7 m (max 8.5)

Weight: ?

Food: Fundamentally deep squid

Distribution: Cold temperate waters

Social structure:?

Pigmy Sperm Whale:

Animal very difficult to spot and identify. The regularity of appearance of stranded specimens seems to indicate some abundance.

The other species: the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus), is found in the Canaries for some sporadic strandings in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.

SOME DATA:

Average size:> 4 m

Weight: less than 300 Kg

Feeding: Cephalopods and mesopelagic

fish Distribution: Tropical

Social structure: Unknown

Calf Horn Whale:

Very rare. In the Canary Islands there is a stranded in Fuerteventura and a sighting in Gran Canaria

SOME DATA:

Average size of males: 9 m (max 10)

Average size of females: 7 m (max 8.5)

Weight: ?

Food: Fundamentally deep squid

Distribution: Cold temperate waters

Social structure:?

Cuvier ́s beaked whale:

In 2004 it is discovered that it has a pattern of residence in the waters of El Hierro and in 2008 the population is estimated in 47 individuals

SOME DATA:

Average size: ~ 6 m (max 7m)

Weight: 2-3 Tn

Food: Fundamentally deep squid

Distribution: global

Social structure: Unknown

Blainville ́s beaked whale

In 2004 the species is found to have a residence pattern in the waters of El Hierro and in 2008 the population is estimated in 64 individuals

SOME DATA:

Average size: 4-5 m

Weight: ~ 1 Tn

Food: Fundamentally deep squid

Distribution: Tropical waters

Social structure: 3-7

Zifio de Gervais (Mesoplodon europeus)

Sporadic sightings on the islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. In terms of strandings, Mainly in the eastern islands and Tenerife.

SOME DATA:

Average size: 4-5 m

Food: Cephalopods and mesopélagic fishes.

Distribution: Temperate-tropical Atlantic

Social structure:?

True's beaked Whale (Mesoplodon mirus)

Very rare. Two sightings on the northeast coast of Tenerife and Gran Canaria and strandings.

SOME DATA:

Average size:?

Food:?

Distribution: Fragmented

Social structure:?

Sowerby ́s beaked whale(Mesoplodon bidens)

Very rare. A Stranding in Lanzarote (31/03/1984) Muelle de los Marmoles, Arrecife, and another in El Hierro

SOME DATA:

Average size:?

Food:?

Distribution: North Atlantic

Social structure:?

Orca (Orcinus orca) Killer whale

En Canarias los avistamientos son esporádicos, sobre todo en verano

SOME DATA:

Male Size: ~ 8.2 m (~ 4.000Kg)

Female Size: ~ 7m (~ 3,000 kg)

Feeding: Depends on the ecotype

Distribution: Global

Social structure: matrilineal type

False killer whale (Pseudoorca crassident)

In the Canaries they appear occasionally (Winter-spring), coinciding with the presence of tunas

SOME DATA :

Size males: ~ 6m (~ 1,360Kg)

Females: ~ 5m (??)

Feeding: Fish and cephalopods

Distribution: Temperate-warm

Social structure: Gregaria (groups 10-20), mass sweeps suggest strong junctions

Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)

Although sightings can be observed on all islands, it is worth mentioning the presence of a resident population on the coasts of southwest Tenerife (391 ± 325-470 indv.) And Anaga (98 ± 75-156 indv.). They have a very pronounced sexual dimorphism, being the males bigger than the females, being able to double them in weight.

SOME DATA:

Average size of males: 4-5 meters (1500 kg)

Average size females: 3-4 meters (1000 kg)

Feeding: Generalist

Distribution: Tropical waters

Social structure: 10-15 animals, matrilineal

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