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Humpback whales wintering at Pitcairn Island, South Pacific

  • Catharine Horswill (a1) and Jennifer A. Jackson (a1)

Here we present the first documentation of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Pitcairn Island region. Land-based surveys were conducted from Pitcairn Island from June 2007 to August 2007 in order to monitor the presence of humpback whales in the surrounding near-shore waters. The highest sighting frequencies occurred in late August, with mother and calf pairs also becoming more prevalent during this period. Observation effort lasted 80.56 hours, totalling 35 sightings of 49 whales. There is no anecdotal history of humpback whales at Pitcairn Island previous to 1990 which may suggest a recent geographical shift in the easterly range of Oceania humpbacks. Our findings extend the known easterly range of humpbacks within Oceania (western South Pacific Ocean).

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: C. Horswill, British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK email:
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Marine Biodiversity Records
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