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Keywords:

  • pygmy right whale;
  • Caperea marginata;
  • body length;
  • sex ratio;
  • age class;
  • diet;
  • latitude;
  • Subtropical Convergence;
  • strandings;
  • sightings;
  • calving

Abstract

The latitudinal range of all records of sightings (n= 9), and live strandings and carcasses (n= 180) of Caperea marginata in the Australasian region was 32°00′–47°00′S. Records were concentrated on the edge of the South Australian gulfs, around Tasmania, at Stewart Island, in Cook Strait, and in the Auckland area. Limited data suggest that these may be related to planktonrich waters nearby. Body lengths ranged from 198 to 650 cm. Overall sex ratio was 0.70 (males: females). In regions north of about 41°S, juveniles (preweaning) made up 41% of the records and subadults (postweaning) were rare (13%). In regions south of about 41°S subadults (36%) were proportionately more abundant than juveniles (17%). Neonates were recorded from 35°37′ to 47°00′S. Adults were found throughout the latitudinal range of the species in Australasia. The diet of the pygmy right whale included copepods and small euphausiids. Behavior consistent with feeding has been observed in coastal waters of Australia.