Megaptera novaeangliae (Arabian Sea subpopulation)
|Scientific Name:||Megaptera novaeangliae (Arabian Sea subpopulation)|
No subspecies of
the humpback whale are recognized. The worldwide population is divided into
three major oceanic divisions based on genetic differentiation:
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered D ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Minton, G., Collins, T., Pomilla, C., Findlay, K.P., Rosenbaum, H., Baldwin, R. & Brownell Jr., R.L.|
|Reviewer(s):||Clapham, P.J., Baker, C.S. & Taylor, B.L. (Cetacean Red List Authority)|
This subpopulation is geographically, demographically and genetically isolated, with a unique year-round residency in sub-tropical waters of the Arabian Sea. The original size of the subpopulation is unknown. However, the current abundance estimate off the coast of Oman, based on photo-identification, while potentially an underestimate, is 82 animals (95% CI 60-111). The basis for an Endangered listing is that the subpopulation is geographically distinct and plausibly contains fewer than 250 mature individuals. According to Taylor et al. (2007) a total abundance of just over 400 individuals would be required in order for the proportion of mature individuals (62%) to reach 250. Even if the Arabian Sea humpback whale population estimate were biased downward, it is highly unlikely that the total abundance would exceed 400.
whale is a cosmopolitan species found in all of the major oceans (Clapham and
Mead 1999). All known subpopulations, with the exception of the subpopulation
Nineteenth century whalers and observers
on 20th century merchant vessels documented the presence of humpback
whales in the
Research efforts during the past thirty years have confirmed the continued presence of humpback whales off the
Native:India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kuwait; Oman; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; United Arab Emirates; Yemen
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:|
Indian Ocean – western
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
data, observations from merchant vessels and recent research (primarily along
the coast of
Examination of stomach contents and
fetuses from the 238 humpback whales taken during Soviet whaling operations in
the Arabian Sea in 1965-66 indicated that both breeding and feeding were taking
place off the coasts of
of tissues sampled from live and beach-cast humpback whales off the coast of
Of 85 sexually mature females examined in
the Soviet catch, 39 (45.9%) were pregnant, and the size range (140-375c m, mean
232 cm) of 36 examined fetuses indicated calving commencing in December, with a
peak in February. Mikhalev (2000) suggested a 3-4 month mating season lasting
from January to May, coincident with that of other Northern Hemisphere
populations. Females with calves have been observed on the Arabian Sea coast of
Mark-recapture studies using three different pairings of tail fluke photographs collected in
|Current Population Trend:||Unknown|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
The southwest monsoon system in the
Sightings of humpback whales off
Humpback whales are well-known to be susceptible to entanglement in
fishing gear (Volgenau et al. 1995,
Johnson et al. 2005). A total of nine
humpback whale entanglements in fishing gear have been recorded off the coast
Humpback whales have been legally protected from commercial whaling
in the southern hemisphere since 1963, and the
The potential for successful conservation of humpback whales in the region is considered to be high, provided that range state governments are made aware of this population’s precarious status. The countries of the Arabian region are generally affluent and in a good position to implement marine conservation measures for humpback whales in addition to those already initiated for other taxa, such as sea turtles. A coordinated series of marine protected areas, combined with species-specific protection measures, could greatly enhance the long-term prospects for humpback whales in the region.
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|Citation:||Minton, G., Collins, T., Pomilla, C., Findlay, K.P., Rosenbaum, H., Baldwin, R. & Brownell Jr., R.L. 2008. Megaptera novaeangliae (Arabian Sea subpopulation). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T132835A3464679.Downloaded on 25 September 2018.|
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