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New records of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) with evidence of possible feeding behaviour from the continental shelf slopes to the west of Ireland

  • Dave Wall (a1), Ivan O'kelly (a2), Pádraig Whooley (a1) and Peter Tyndall (a3)

Abstract

On 15 and 17 September 2008 two sightings of blue whales were recorded (with photographic confirmation of species identity) on the continental shelf slopes to the west of Ireland. Blue whale sightings within the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nm limit) are extremely rare with only three reported sightings since the closure of the Irish/Norwegian whaling stations in 1922, none of which were confirmed by photo-identification. These new records are considered to be of two separate animals due to the distances between sightings and fluking behaviour being exhibited by only one of the animals. Evidence suggesting that these animals were feeding was collected during both sightings, with northern krill thought to be the prey species. Photographs taken on 15 September allowed for photo-identification comparison with the North Atlantic blue whale catalogue, however no match was found. Together these sightings may indicate a previously unrecorded feeding area for blue whales in the north-east Atlantic.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: D. Wall Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Galway–Mayo Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland email: dave.wall@iwdg.ie

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2

Present address: Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Galway–Mayo Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland

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References

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Keywords

New records of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) with evidence of possible feeding behaviour from the continental shelf slopes to the west of Ireland

  • Dave Wall (a1), Ivan O'kelly (a2), Pádraig Whooley (a1) and Peter Tyndall (a3)

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