Caperea marginata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Neobalaenidae

Scientific Name: Caperea marginata (Gray, 1846)
Common Name(s):
English Pygmy Right Whale
French Baleine Pygmée
Spanish Ballena Franca Pigmea

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N.
Reviewer(s): Taylor, B.L. & Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. (Cetacean Red List Authority)
The species is listed as Data Deficient because of the paucity of live records, the absence of a population size estimate, and the limited knowledge of the species range. Given the lack of known threats and the probably wide distribution, it is unlikely that the species would qualify for a threatened category if more data were available, but in the absence of any estimate of population size, it cannot be assessed against any of the criteria thresholds.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The pygmy right whale probably has a circumpolar distribution in temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere between about 30°S and 55°S (extending to 20°S in at least the Benguela system (southwestern African continental shelf) (Hoffmann and Best 2005). There are only a few confirmed records of live whales at sea, but strandings have been reported from Argentina, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Namibia, South Africa, Chile, western, southern and eastern coasts of Australia, and North and South Islands of New Zealand (Cabrera et al. 2005; Hoffman and Best 2005; Kemper 2002a,b; Rice 1998; Ross et al. 1975). Two individuals were taken by a whaling vessel in the South Atlantic between 34°-35°S (Ivashin et al. 1972). An unusual sighting was made in 1992 of an aggregation of about 80 individuals 320 nm southwest of Cape Leeuwin, southwest Australia (Matsuoka et al. 1996). A group of 14 individuals was sighted in 2001 at 46°S in the South Pacific 450 km southeast of New Zealand (Matsuoka et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Australia; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Namibia; New Zealand; South Africa
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – Antarctic; Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – Antarctic; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The pygmy right whale is one of the least known baleen whale species, and there are too few records to attempt an estimate of population size, even to an order of magnitude. The single sighting of about 80 whales in the southeast Indian Ocean (Matsuoka et al. 1996) represents over half of the recorded sightings of live individuals. Apart from the two large schools mentioned above, most sightings have been of one or two individuals, sometimes in association with other species of whales and dolphins. The inconspicuous, small blow and quick, shallow surfacing of pygmy right whales make them difficult to spot and observe at sea. They are unlikely to be correctly identified by non-experts.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The stomachs of the two individuals taken in Russian whaling operations (Ivashin 1972) and a juvenile immature stranded individual (Sekiguchi et al. 1992) contained mainly calanoid copepods.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This poorly known species has never been hunted commercially. There is no evidence of any direct anthropogenic threats. The species may be naturally rare throughout its range, or simply difficult to detect or identify, or perhaps its areas of concentration have not yet been discovered.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No specific conservation measures exist for this rarely sighted species, but it is covered by generic whale protection measures both internationally and in the known range states. It is listed in Appendix I of CITES and Appendix II of CMS.

Citation: Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N. 2008. Caperea marginata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3778A10071743. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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