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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Odds And Ends

  • Ever wonder how Humpback Whales mate? Scientists do. But now witnesses have actually seen two of these winged giants in flagranti. And there are photos to prove it. (Thanks, Underwater Times).

  • The highlight, the "Narooma News" explains about this landmark bit of lovin', is not the voyeurism of a second bull spectating but rather the mating couple's preferred position:
    What Jon witnessed is called a “heat run”, where as many as 40 humpback males chase down a female, and vie for the right to mate with her.

    After the female chooses her mate, they usually swim off, and until now, humpbacks mating had never been witnessed, let alone recorded, he said.

    The mating took place in a relatively shallow lagoon where he was able to get less than 10 metres from them, fixated by both the mating pair and a huge male located just underneath them.

    He said that all the researchers who saw his images were surprised how the whales mated side by side and continued swimming, rather than belly-to-belly as traditionally was thought how it happened.
  • Bonny Schumaker blogged about Sea Shepherd and friends discovering encouraging signs of life in the Gulf of Mexico over Labor Day weekend, including 21 Whale Shark sightings in all:
  • We spotted 12 whale sharks on Sunday. Again, they were always near or in the middle of a school of jumping tuna and lots of baitfish. Some of those bait balls had tiger sharks with them; we never did see both tiger and whale sharks together. And of course we also were delighted to find more leatherback turtles and dolphins.
    There was also this little behavioral gem:
    We witnessed five dolphins apparently playing with the sub-adult whale shark -- they seemed to be taking turns chasing each other. The dolphins, if not the young whale shark, appeared to be having quite some fun with it all; the scientists were quite excited about this, as it is yet another feature of whale shark behavior about which we know very little.
  • I haven't tracked down the purported "Whale Shark finning" video itself, but maybe that's just as well. I wonder whether the shark's fin properties that are so highly coveted in parts of Asia are even present in Whale Sharks.

  • A Six-Gill Shark is caught chomping a fish head on video nearly a mile down. Can the six-gill's bite be so innocuous, or is that a titanium fish head?

  • A music video inspired by sea life that's just a joy to watch.

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