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Identifying Humpback Whales using their natural markings


One must suppose that even before Melville transformed the true story of an unusually lightcoloured Sperm Whale named Mocha Dick into his epic novel, Moby Dick, and certainly afterwards, whalers and zoologists working in the whaling industry have noted that pronounced morphological differences often exist among whales of the same species and stock (Lillie, 1915; Matthews, 1937; Pike, 1953). During the past 15 years, scientists studying living whales have commented on individuals with odd marks, scars, pigmentation patterns or albinism, deformities, algal films or the shape and position of external features such as the dorsal fin.

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S. G. Brown 1978. Whale marking techniques. In: B. Stonehouse ed.Animal marking. London, MacMillan, p 7180.

S. K. Katona and others. 1979. Identification of Humpback Whales by fluke photographs. In: H. E. Winn and B. L. Olla eds.The behavior of marine animals, Vol 3. New York and London, Plenum Press, p 3344.

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Polar Record
  • ISSN: 0032-2474
  • EISSN: 1475-3057
  • URL: /core/journals/polar-record
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