Did you know that the baby blue whale drinks up to 225 litres of milk a day, that the common dolphin is not the most common or that the right whale’s penis is the biggest in the animal kingdom? Thanks to WDCS you do now!
Today saw the launch of the world’s most comprehensive guide to whales and dolphins, which ironically, along with a number of fascinating facts, has revealed exactly how little we humans still know about these magnificent creatures! Pulling this guide together (with 85 species currently recognised) was a mammoth task and one that involved a multitude of WDCS staff, volunteers and researchers from around the world.
The guide comes in three languages, and provides interesting and easy to use insights into the creature’s habitats, behaviour, and where to find them. It also features 80 maps, over 400 images, a threat index (which highlights the level of danger facing each species) and contact details should you need to ask questions, provide missing images or just say hello!
However, despite the wealth of information contained within the guide, WDCS is putting out a worldwide call to help fill the knowledge gap and help preserve these amazing animals for a long time to come. We have about 15 species for which we have no detailed imagery, and as most of you may have guessed, it's the usual suspects ... the elusive beaked whales! Despite all the information that we have painstakingly pulled together for this guide, they remain one of the most poorly known family of all large mammals. Many are known only from the study of the skeletal and stranded remains and, because their external appearance and behaviour are so poorly documented, even experts can find it impossible to correctly identify these animals at sea. And when they do pop up they don’t hang around for long at the surface.
So...if you think you may be able to help, here's our top 10 ‘most wanted’ list:
Andrew’s beaked whale
Hector’s beaked whale
Hubb’s beaked whale
Longman’s beaked whale
Perrin’s beaked whale
Pygmy beaked whale
Pygmy right whale
Pygmy sperm whale
Shepherd’s beaked whale
Spade-toothed beaked whale
And don't forget to have a look at some of the species you know you've seen (and possibly have images of) and let us know if you can do better!!!
We hope you enjoy the guide and look forward to your feedback!
And here's some fascinating facts to keep you entertained ...!
Did you know…?
-The sperm whale is the deepest diver
-A dolphin embryo looks just like a human one
-A baby blue whale drinks about 225 litres of milk a day, gaining 3.7 kilograms an hour, until at age 8 months they are 15 m long and 22.5 tonnes!
-Maui’s and Vaquita are the most endangered species
-Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin has the ‘best’ hearing
-Right whale’s penis is the longest (and has largest testicles) in the animal kingdom
-Common dolphin is not the most common
-Bowhead whales (spend their lives in Arctic waters) are the longest lived of all whales – possibly 200 years
-South Asian river dolphin is functionally blind
-The largest ever recorded blue whale was an Antarctic female 30.5 m long with an estimated weight of 144 tonnes
-The heart of a blue whale weighs up to 1000 pounds, and that the aorta, a major blood vessel for the heart, is big enough for a small-sized human to crawl through. The heart is about the size of a VW Beatle
-A humpback calf nurses on about 40-60 gallons of milk per day and the milk is about 40% milk fat (about the consistency of cottage cheese mixed with yogurt)
-Beluga whales are called the "canaries of the sea" because they make sounds like the little yellow birds
-Pacific humpback whales migrate more than 6000 miles a year, one of the longest migrations of any species in the world
-A single fin whale pee is about 970 litres/day
Anyone got any more? Please send them in!!