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.
Ahmed, M.F. 1988. Stranding of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae, Borowski, 1781) on the Sind Coast. Records of the Zoological Survey of Pakistan: 111-112.
Al-Robaae, K. 1974. Tursiops aduncus, bottle nosed dolphin: a new record from the Arab Gulf: with notes on Cetacea of the region. Bulletin of the Basrah Natural History Museum 1(1): 7-15.
Anderson, R.C. 2005. Observations of cetaceans in the Maldives, 1990-2002. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 7(2): 119-135.
Baker, C.S., Flórez-González, L., Abernethy, B., Rosenbaum, H.C., Slade, R.W., Capella, J. and Bannister, J.L. 1998. Mitochondrial DNA variation and maternal gene flow among Humpback Whales of the Southern Hemisphere. Marine Mammal Science 14: 721–737.
Baker, C.S., Medrano-González, L., Calambokidis, J., Perry, A., Pichler, F.B., Rosenbaum, H.C., Straley, J.M., Urban-Ramirez, J., Yamaguchi, M. and Ziegesar, O.V. 1998b. Population structure of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation among humpback whales in the North Pacific. Molecular Ecology 7: 695-707.
Baker, C.S., Perry, A., Bannister, J.L., Abernathy, B., Weinrich, M., Abernathy, J., Calambokidis, J., Lien, J., Lambertsen, R.H., Urbán, J.R., Clapham, P.J., Ailing, A., O'Brien, S.J. and Palumbi, S.R. 1993. Abundant mitochondrial DNA variation and world-wide population structure in humpback whales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 90, 8239-8243.
Baldwin, R., Gallagher, M. and Van Waerebeek, K. 1999. A review of cetaceans from waters off the Arabian Peninsula. In: M. Fisher, S. Ghazanfar and A. Spalton (eds), The Natural History of Oman: A Festschrift for Michael Gallagher. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.
Brown, S.G. 1957. Whales observed in the Indian Ocean: notes on their distribution. The Marine Observer 27(177): 157-165.
Burkill, P.H. 1999. Arabesque: An overview. Deep-Sea Research Part II 46: 529-547.
Clapham, P.J. and Mead, J.G. 1999. Megaptera novaeangliae. Mammalian Species 604: 1-9.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2007. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2006. FAO, Rome, Italy.
Gervais, H.P. 1883. Sur une nouvelle espéce du genre Megaptere provenant de la baie de Bassora (golfe Persique). Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, Paris 97: 1566-1569.
Ilangakoon, A. 2002. Whales and dolphins of Sri Lanka. Gunaratne Offset Ltd.
Ilangakoon, A. 2006.. Preliminary analysis of large whale strandings in Sri Lanka. Pakistan Journal of Oceanography 2(2): 61-68.
IUCN. 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).
Johnson, A., Salvador, G., Kenney, J., Robbins, J., Kraus, S., Landry, S. and Clapham, P. 2005. Fishing gear involved in entanglement of right and humpback whales. Marine Mammal Science 21: 635-645.
Lal Mohan, R.S. 1992. Observations on the whales Balaenoptera edeni, B. musculus and Megaptera novaeangliae washed ashore along the Indian coast with a note on their osteology. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India 34(1 & 2): 253-255.
Mathew, A.P. 1948. Stranding of a whale (Megaptera nodosa) on the Travancore Coast in 1943. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 47(4): 732-733.
Mikhalev, Y.A. 1997. Humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae in the Arabian Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 149: 13-21.
Mikhalev, Y.A. 2000. Whaling in the Arabian Sea by the whaling fleets Slava and Sovetskaya Ukraina. In: V. A. Zemsky and A. V. Yablokov (eds), Soviet Whaling Data [1949-1979]. Pp 141-181. Center for Russian Environmental Policy, Marine Mammal Council, Moscow.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. 2002. In: Fisheries Statistical Year Book 2001. Muscat, Oman.
Ministry of National Economy. 2003. Statistical Yearbook, August 2003. Muscat, Oman.
Minton, G. 2004. Ecology and Conservation of Cetaceans in Oman, with particular reference to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). University of London, University Marine Biological Station, Millport.
Minton, G., Collins, T. J. Q., Findlay, K. P., Ersts, P. J., Rosenbaum, H. C., Berggren, P. and Baldwin, R. M. 2008. Seasonal distribution, abundance, habitat use and population identity of humpback whales in Oman. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management (Special Issue on Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales) (in press).
Olavarria, C., Baker, C.S., Garrigue, C., Poole, M.M., Hauser, N., Caballero, S., Florez-Gonzalez, L., Brasseur, M., Bannister, J.L., Capella Alzueta, J., Clapham, P.J., Dodemont, R., Donoghue, M., Jenner, C., Jenner, K.C.S., Moro, D., Oremus, M., Paton, D., Rosenbaum, H.C. and Russell, K. 2007. Population structure of South Pacific humpback whales and the origin of the eastern Polynesian breeding grounds. Marine Ecology Progress Series 330: 257-268.
Palsbøll, P.J., Clapham, P.J., Mattila, D.K., Larsen, F., Sears, R., Siegismund, H.R., Sigurjónsson, J., Vasquez, O. and Arctander, P. 1995. Distribution of mtDNA haplotypes in North Atlantic humpback whales: the influence of behaviour on population structure. Marine Ecology Progress Series 116: 1-10.
Papastavrou, V. and Van Waerebeek, K. 1997. A note on the recent occurrence of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in tropical and subtropical areas: the upwelling link. Document SC/48/O39 presented to the 48th meeting of the International Whaling Commission.
Pomilla, C., Best P.B., Findlay, K.P., Collins, T.J.Q., Engel, M.H., Minton, G., Ersts, P.J., Barendse, J., Kotze, P.J.H., Razafindrakoto, Y., Ngouessono, S., Meyer, M., Thornton, M. and Rosenbaum, H.C. 2006. Population structure and sex-biased gene flow in humpback whales from Wintering Regions A, B, C, and X based on nuclear microsatellite variation. Report SC/A06/HW38 presented to the Comprehensive Assessment of Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales. IWC Scientific Committee.
Reeves, R.R., Leatherwood, S. and Papastavrou, V. 1991. Possible stock affinities of humpback whales in the northern Indian Ocean. In: S. Leatherwood and G.P. Donovan (eds), Cetaceans and cetacean research in the Indian Ocean Sanctuary: Marine Mammal Technical, pp. 259-269. 3, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.
Rosenbaum, H.C., Pomilla, C., Leslie, M., Mendez, M.C., Best P.B., Collins, T.J.Q., Engel, M.H., Ersts, P.J., Findlay, K.P., Bonnatto, S., Kotze, P.J.H., Meyer, M., Minton, G., Barendse, J., Thorton, M., Razafindrakoto, Y. and Ngouessono, S. 2006. Mitochondrial DNA diversity and population structure of humpback whales from their wintering areas (breeding stocks) in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans (wintering regions A, B,C and X). Report SC/A06/HW41 presented to the Comprehensive Assessment of Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales. International Whaling Commission.
Sathasivam, K. 2000. A Catalogue Of Indian Marine Mammal Records. Blackbuck.
Savidge, G., Lennon, J. and Matthews, A.J. 1990. A shore-based survey of upwelling along the coast of Dhofar region, southern Oman. Continental Shelf Research 10(3): 259-275.
Sheppard, C.R.C., Price, A. and Roberts, C. 1992. Marine Ecology Of The Arabian Region: Patterns And Processes In Extreme Tropical Environments. Academic Press, London.
Slijper, E.J., Van Utrecht, W.L. and Naaktgeboren, C. 1964. Remarks on the distribution and migration of whales. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde 34: 4-86.
Stengel, H. and Al Harthy, A. 2002. The traditional fishery of the Sultanate of Oman (Fishing gear and methods). Muscat, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Directorate General of Fisheries Resources, Marine Science and Fisheries Center.
Taylor, B.L., Chivers, S.J., Larese, J. and Perrin, W. 2007. Generation Length and Percent Mature Estimates for IUCN Assessments of Cetaceans. Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Administrative report LJ-07-01.
Volgenau, L., Kraus, S.D. and Lien, J. 1995. The impact of entanglements on two substocks of the western North Atlantic humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae. Canadian Journal of Zoology 73: 1689-1698.
Whitehead, H. 1985. Humpback whale songs from the North Indian Ocean. Investigations on Cetacea 17: 157-162.
Wilson, S.C. 2000. Northwest Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. In: C.R.C. Sheppard (ed.), Seas at the Millennium: an environmental evaluation: Volume II Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to the Pacific, pp. 17-33. Pergamon, Elsevier Science, Oxford.
Winn, H.E., Thompson, T.J., Cummings, W.C., Hain, J.H., Hudnall, J., Hays, H.E. and Steiner, W.W. 1980. Song of the humpback whale - population comparisons. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 8: 41-46.
Wray, P. and Martin, K.R. 1980. Historical whaling records from the western Indian Ocean. Document IWC/CS/32/08 to the International Whaling Commission.
Yukhov, V.L. 1969. Observations of cetaceans in the Gulf of Aden and the northwestern part of the Arabian Sea. In: V.A. Arsenev and B.A. Zenkovich (eds), Marine Mammals, pp. 327-328. Akad Nauka, Moscow. (In Russian; English translation available from National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Seattle, WA)
|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 19 March 2018.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided|