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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dolphins and Whales

Order Cetacea


This order contains dolphins and whales. These are marine mammals.

In Singapore, 13 species have been recorded. The one most likely encountered are the uncommon Indo-Pacific Bottlenose and Humpback Dolphins. These are followed by the rare Finless Porpoise and Irrawaddy Dolphins1. The False Killer Whale is even rarer with only one found stranded at Tuas in 19942. In 2015. Singapore had its first record of Sperm Whale, albeit a dead one off Jurong Island3. The rest are possible in Singapore water but need to be confirmed4,5.
  1. Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) - Rare
  2. Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) - Rare
  3. Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) - Uncommon
  4. Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) - Rare
  5. Risso's Dolphin (Grampus griseus) - Rare
  6. Fraser's Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) - Rare
  7. False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens) - Rare vagrant
  8. Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata) - Rare
  9. Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) - Rare
  10. Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) - Rare
  11. Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis) - Rare
  12. Bryde's Whale (Balaenoptera edeni) - Rare
  13. Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) - Rare

The Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is rare in Singapore.


Common Bottlenose Dolphin in Adelaide, Australia ©Tan KH

The Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) has recently been split from the Common Bottlenose Dolphin. It is uncommon and can sometimes be seen in the Singapore Strait.


Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins in Singapore Strait. Left: ©Con Foley. Right: ©Tan KH


Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin in Singapore Strait ©Con Foley


Mixed pod of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose (dark fins) and Humpback (pale fin) Dolphins in Singapore Strait ©Tan KH

The Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis) is uncommon and can sometimes be seen in our Southern waters. It is also called Pink Dolphin due to its pale coloration. It has a distinctive hump on the back and the dorsal fin is much shorter than the bottlenose dolphins'. The rest of the cetaceans are extremely rare.


Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin in Singapore Strait ©Tan KH


Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin in Singapore Strait ©Lau JS

References

1. SWiMMS
2. False Killer Whale stranded at Tuas in 1994
3. et up close to the Singapore whale at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
4. SeaWiMMS
5. Cetaceans of Indonesian waters

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