Scientists estimate that 50 to 80 percent of all life on earth is found under the ocean’s surface, and yet there’s still so much to learn about what goes on in all that water. The New England Aquarium is working to understand at least one marine mystery with a new video of Omura’s whales, a smaller species of baleen whale.
Researchers studying Omura’s whales off the coast of Madagascar were lucky enough to capture the rare species on camera. In the video, which is the second from New England Aquarium marine mammal biologist Dr. Salvatore Cerchio and his team, the 33- to 38-foot tropical whales can be seen in their entirety gliding right below the water’s surface.
The Cape Cod-based researcher has been studying Omura’s whales since 2004. Scientists first recognized the whales as their own distinct species in 2003; the whales had previously been mistaken as a slightly larger Bryde’s whale.
Cerchio’s research has revealed important observations on the Omura’s feeding behavior and whale songs. This video shows mother/calf pairs, the species’ distinct, irregular head markings, and shows how the whales feed on krill: trapping food in their baleen, expelling the water, and then swallowing.