Catches or strandings of Balaenoptera omurai

National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries

Dataset credit

Shiro Wada, National Research Institute of Fisheries Science
Masayuki Oishi, Iwate Prefectural Museum
Tadasu K. Yamada, National Science Museum


Primary contact Shiro Wada National Research Institute of Fisheries Science
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



In the late 1970s eight Balaenoptera specimens of unknown
identity were caught in the lower latitudinal Indo-Pacific waters by Japanese research whaling vessels. The combination of the allozyme patterns and physical maturity of the eight specimens separated them from all acknowledged Balaenoptera species. In September 1998 we collected a medium-sized baleen whale carcass on a coastal island in the Sea of Japan. This specimen and the previously collected eight specimens resembled Balaenoptera physalus (fin whale) in external appearance but were much smaller. Comparison of external morphology, osteology and mitochondrial DNA data grouped the nine specimens as a
single species but separated them from all known baleen whale species. Therefore, here we describe a new species of Balaenoptera, which is characterized by its unique cranial morphology, its small number of baleen plates, and by its distant molecular relationships with all of its congeners. Our analyses also separated Balaenoptera brydei (Bryde's whale) and Balaenoptera edeni (Eden's whale) into two distinct species, raising the number of known living Balaenoptera species to eight.


The eight specimens were caught as "Bryde's whales" for the biological investigation under a special permit. Fresh appearance of whole ventral side was provided from a whale on deck of the research vessel.

Supplemental information

Data are digitized from the Nature paper.
The holotype belongs to the Japanese National Science Museum.




This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
All attributes are included in the downloadable file (CSV or ESRI File Geodatabase) for "Complete Set of Dataset".

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
sp_obsSpecies name recorded (always B. omurai)
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
musium_noMuseum number
baleen_plateCollected baleen plates
body_lengthBody length in meters
ovaries_testesOvaries or testes
maturityPhysical maturity (A and a: mature; n: immature)
obs_dateDate of catch or stranding
latitude_orgPosition (Latitude in original format)
longitude_orgPosition (Longitude in original format)
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees
obs_timeCollected time (blank)
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals9
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin1976-10-24
Date, End1998-11-09
Temporal prec.111000
Latitude9.82 - 34.35
Longitude94.48 - 157.93
Coord. prec.3 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. through
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