The State Museum, State Library and State Archives are temporarily Closed.

More Piked Whales from Southern North Atlantic

TitleMore Piked Whales from Southern North Atlantic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1955
AuthorsMoore, JC, Palmer, RS
JournalJournal of Mammalogy

Several years ago the stranding of a rare species of whale on the Florida Keys stimulated one of us to attempt to discover just what ranges of marine mammals could be shown to extend into Florida waters. When the results of this investigation were recorded (Moore, 1953), one of the interesting items revealed was the occurrence of the little piked whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, in the Gulf of Mexico. This midget member of the finback family of the whalebone whales was known before this to occur only as far south as Long Beach (lat. 39°30′ N.), New Jersey, where one stranded in the fall of 1866 (Rhoads, 1903). Its previously known range on the eastern continental shelf of North America, Anderson (1946) has succinctly described as, “… rare in Baffin Bay, common on South Greenland coast and in Davis Strait, and on Labrador and Newfoundland coasts; [occurs in] Gulf of St. Lawrence, and south to New York and New Jersey.” Jonsgaard's (1951) reference to a record from Cape Hatteras is a misinterpretation. This indicates that off the eastern North American coast it was known to be common between 70° and 50° north latitude and to occur south to about 40° until our above-mentioned report extended this south to just below 25°. This southernmost record of the species for the North Atlantic Ocean was based upon the February, 1949, stranding of an adult piked whale in the Florida Keys. A further extension of the animal's known range up into the Gulf of Mexico at 30° latitude was reported on the basis of an adult's skeleton from near Spring Creek, Florida.