Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dolphins and Whales

Order Cetacea

This order contains dolphins and whales. These are marine mammals.

In Singapore, 12 species have been recorded. The one most likely encountered are the uncommon Indo-Pacific Bottlenose and Humpback Dolphins. These are followed by the rare Finless Porpoise and Irrawaddy Dolphins[1]. The False Killer Whale is even rarer with only one found stranded at Tuas in 1994[2]. The rest are possible in Singapore water but need to be confirmed[3,4].

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) - Rare
Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) - Rare
Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) - Uncommon
Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) - Rare
Risso's Dolphin (Grampus griseus) - Rare
Fraser's Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) - Rare
False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) - Rare vagrant
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) - Rare
Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) - Rare
Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) - Rare
Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis) - Rare
Bryde's Whale (Balaenoptera edeni) - Rare

The Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is rare in Singapore.

Common Bottlenose Dolphin in Adelaide, Australia ©Tan KH

The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) has recently been split from the Common Bottlenose Dolphin. It is uncommon and can sometimes be seen in the Singapore Strait.

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins in Singapore Strait. Left: ©Con Foley. Right: ©Tan KH

Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin in Singapore Strait ©Con Foley

Mixed pod of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose (dark fins) and Humpback (pale fin) Dolphins in Singapore Strait ©Tan KH

The Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is uncommon and can sometimes be seen in our Southern waters. It is also called Pink Dolphin due to its pale coloration. It has a distinctive hump on the back and the dorsal fin is much shorter than the bottlenose dolphins'. The rest of the cetaceans are extremely rare.

Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin in Singapore Strait ©Tan KH

[1] SWiMMS
[2] False Killer Whale stranded at Tuas in 1994
[3] SeaWiMMS
[4] Cetaceans of Indonesian waters

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