Readers ask about Cuvier’s beaked whales, microbes in the atmosphere and more

cover of the November 7, 2020 issue

Waiting to exhale Cuvier’s beaked whales may rely on large stores of oxygen, a slow metabolism and the ability to tolerate lactic acid to dive for hours without surfacing for air, Erin Garcia de Jesus reported in “A beaked whale’s nearly four-hour-long dive sets a new record” (SN: 11/7/20, p. 5). “Your report on Cuvier’s […]

2 calves of one of world’s most endangered large whales spotted

Two rare newborn North Atlantic right whale calves were recently spotted in U.S. waters, according to news reports. This is hopeful news, as the North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) are critically endangered with only about 400 of them left in the wild, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.  Biologists from […]

Baikal seals feed on tiny crustaceans like whales do

Baikal seals are fans of bite-sized portions, and this dietary quirk may be why the seals are thriving. Found in Russia’s immense Lake Baikal, the Siberian mammals devour tiny marine crustaceans, likely using comblike teeth in a manner similar to how baleen whales feed, a new study finds. The research suggests that Baikal seals (Pusa […]

Blue whales return to South Georgia after near extinction

A blue whale photographed near South Georgia. Credit: Russell Leaper An international research team led by UK scientists has revealed the return of critically endangered Antarctic blue whales to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, 50 years after whaling all but wiped them out. The new study follows recent research that humpback whales are also […]

Race to save whales in Sri Lanka’s biggest mass stranding

The causes of mass strandings remain unknown Rescuers and volunteers were racing Monday to save about 100 pilot whales stranded on Sri Lanka’s western coast in the island nation’s biggest-ever mass beaching. The short-finned pilot whales began beaching at Panadura, 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Colombo, shortly before dusk and within an hour their […]

International study uncovers secret surfing life of remoras hitchhiking on blue whales

A remora attached to the skin of a blue whale Credit: Stanford University & Cascadia Research Collective. Image collected under NMFS permit #16111. Sticking to the bodies of sharks and other larger marine life is a well-known specialty of remora fishes (Echeneidae) and their super-powered suction disks on their heads. But a new study has […]

Secret surfing life of remoras hitchhiking on blue whales — ScienceDaily

Sticking to the bodies of sharks and other larger marine life is a well-known specialty of remora fishes (Echeneidae) and their super-powered suction disks on their heads. But a new study has now fully documented the “suckerfish” in hitchhiking action below the ocean’s surface, uncovering a much more refined skillset that the fish uses for […]