SPATIAL AND SEASONAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE HUMPBACK WHALE, MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE, IN THE MEXICAN PACIFIC

Authors

  • R. Jorge Urbán,

    1. Laboratorio de Vertebrados, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-572, C.P. 04510, Mexico, D.F. México
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  • L. Anelio Aguayo

    1. Laboratorio de Vertebrados, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-572, C.P. 04510, Mexico, D.F. México
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Abstract

From observations of the spatial distribution of humpback whales in the Mexican Pacific between 1981 and 1986, it is possible to recognize four subregions: 1) the southern coast of Baja California; 2) the northern Gulf of California, including the Midriff Islands; 3) the mainland coast of Mexico, including the Isla Isabel and Islas Tres Marias and 4) the Revillagigedo Archipelago. The seasonal distribution of whales near the Mexican mainland and the Revillagigedo Archipelago extends from November to May and is similar to that of other winter breeding grounds, including the Hawaiian Islands. Along the southern coast of Baja California, whales have been observed from September to April, possibly indicating a shorter migratory route. In the northern Gulf of California, however, humpback whales have been reported throughout the year and are occasionally observed feeding during both summer and winter months. The degree of individual movement between the four subregions is still unknown. The number of individual humpback whales identified photographically in recent years suggests that there ate more whales in the Mexican Pacific than previously reported.

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