08.01.2020 – Social mysteries
Our Stenella had an absolutely beautiful trip out on the Atlantic today. We met three different species of toothed whales that are fascinating for a variety of reasons and all manifest a very different relationship the archipelago’s waters.The Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and the Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) are frequent visitors in these waters but both tend to occur during different times of the year. The spotted dolphins occur in high abundance during the summer months while the commons are more often encountered in large groups dura g the winter. We saw both species today and were happy to enjoy their notorious interactive nature, a trait that has made both dolphins popular subjects for scientists yearning to understand the culture of these wonderful creatures. Although researchers are discovering more and more about them in general, their high abundance during their respective seasons in Madeira makes photo-identification of individual animals very difficult here.
With the Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) the situation is quite the opposite. These cetaceans tend to be quite shy and spend most of their time in deeper waters, making them a sort of enigma with regards to their social life. They are, however, a very well documented species here in Madeira and scientists have even identified resident groups of animals among the Blainville’s occurring in the area.
We hadn’t seen much of this species in the last months so this short but sweet sighting was very rewarding. We can’t help but look forward to more facts being uncovered about these mysterious creatures and would also welcome more knowledge on the individual seasonal dolphins visiting Madeira. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know whether the same spotted or common dolphins return to Madeira during their respective seasons?
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Blainville’s beaked whales, Short-beaked common dolphins