03 August 2014

Red Sea Cetaceans – Details supplied by Peter Rudolph

Peter sent me some details on cetaceans from the Red Sea that still remain among the world’s least known, and some uncertainty surrounds even the species composition in the region. Personal observations combined with a review of the literature suggest that eight cetacean species occur regularly in the Red Sea:
Bryde's Whale Balaenoptera edeni Reported from Farasan Islands (Gladstone and Fisher 2000)

Long-Beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus capensis, Deep waters, found mostly in S. Red Sea
Risso's Dolphin Grampus griseus Deep waters, throughout region
Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin Sousa chinensis Coastal shallow waters, throughout
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin Stenella attenuata Deep waters, throughout

Spinner Dolphin Stenella longirostris Deep waters and reefs, throughout
Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops aduncus Coastal waters, found mostly in the north
Common Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus Coastal waters, throughout
Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins
Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin
Eight other species also occur in the region, but are apparently rare:
Pygmy Killer Whale or Melon-headed Whales Feresa or Peponocephala Observed in deep waters
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae Young observed and photographed in Gulf of Aqaba, near Dahab (Debelius 1999)
Short-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala macrorhynchus, Observed in deep waters
Sperm Whale Physeter macrocephalus Considered rare but present
False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens Observed in deep waters
Striped Dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba Observed in deep waters
Killer Whale Orcinus orca
 Considered rare but present
Rough-toothed Dolphin Steno bredanensis Considered present

The presence in the Red Sea of Common Minke Whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata is mentioned in the literature, but these records are considered unlikely.