WEIGHTS AND ANATOMICAL MEASUREMENTS OF NORTHEASTERN ATLANTIC FIN (BALAENOPTERA PHYSALUS, LINNAEUS) AND SEI (B. BOREALIS, LESSON) WHALES

Authors

  • Christina Lockyer,

    1. Natural Environment Research Council, Sea Mammal Research Unit, % British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, High Cross, Cambridge CB3 OET, England
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  • Timothy Waters

    1. Natural Environment Research Council, Sea Mammal Research Unit, % British Antarctic Survey, Madingley Road, High Cross, Cambridge CB3 OET, England
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Abstract

Piecemeal body weights of eleven fin and four sei whales and intact weights of three foetuses, obtained from Iceland, are compared with published weight data. The Icelandic fin are similar to other northern hemisphere animals but are significantly leaner than their Antarctic counterparts. The Icelandic sei appear heavier than the North Pacific sei whales. Their weights cannot be predicted from a North Pacific sei whale weight/length formula. Length, girth and blubber thickness measurements indicate changes in relative body dimensions in the early fin whale foetus compared with juveniles and adults; however, the midterm sei whale foetus is similar to the adult and juvenile sei whales. The blubber appears to form a major component even in the foetal body. The integration of a standard series of lengths, girths and blubber thicknesses in juveniles and adults can provide an estimate of the blubber component. Both girth and length are significant parameters in estimating body weight, a simple weight/length formula being found to be inadequate to allow for variability in body fatness. Evaluation of such a multiple parameter formula for calculating weight appears satisfactory for both fin and sei whales. Apparent weight/length differences between species and stocks may thus be partly due to variations in body fatness.

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